What is Usability Testing?

In a broad sense, usability testing is a type of user research that focuses on observing the behaviour, struggles and tendicies of users, it is sometimes done in a formal usability lab or in their own use/work environment.

The research findings from usability testing present an opportunity to design solutions to this challenges. Talking to users is one vital aspect of the design process and usability testing is one of the methods we use to get direct feedback on our designs to see where they could be improved. Surprisingly enough, research has shown that lots of efforts need to be outlined in other to improve usability testing because, the ultimate goal of a web applications or business owner, is to meet all their customer’s needs or wants. Designers on the other hands need to find someone that is an expert in the Fields of testing for a better and professional test.

Usability Testing Methods

Usability testing can be done in different ways. However, Here are some of the ways / and or methods that I’ve personally used when testing a web applications.

  • In-person or remote
  • Moderated or unmoderated
  • In a usability testing room, or guerrilla-style out in the public
  • Session recording
  • Phone interview. And many more ways

There are different variety of tools out there that are used during usability tests as well. But lots of brands including me use some of those tools depending on where am currently working on - referring to the project or what I am trying to achieve. One artifact might be better than others depending on the project. Below are some different types of artifacts that have made my testing more efficient and successful!

Paper Prototyping

The paper prototyping is a great and amazing way of testing because it allows you to test real users, meaning that the user will interact completely with the paper! The idea of using sketches or printed wireframes for usability testing is absolutely great. This method is also very much useful in an early stage of a project, because, it allows you to quickly validate a design direction easily.

Clickable Prototype Testing

The idea of Using a clickable version of wireframes or mockups to simulate flows through a website or application is fabulous. This type of testing is fabulous because, it gives a visual representation of the user interface of a website, app or any software application. The clickable prototype also makes our work easy because it’s wireframe might include buttons that are clickable and may even redirect a user to a new page!

Live System Testing

This is done by conducting the test completely on an integrated system to evaluate its performance and its ability before it is launched. Testing using the current website or application has allowed me to test out specific flows or sections of the application in production to determine the current usability challenges customers may face. This testing is vital because it includes an end to end scenario to better and quality testing. I use this type of testing because it enables me to test, validate and verify both the Application Architecture and Business requirements.

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