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Step-by-Step Guide to Usability Testing

The importance of usability testing holds as much importance as tracking your company’s performance over the years. Before moving ahead, first, let us have a look at what is usability and usability testing.

Usability is the term used to define the level of ease at which a system allows a user to reach the goal. While usability testing refers to evaluating a product’s ability or determine the areas, where people struggle with a product and make recommendations for improvement.

Since the usability testing involves real customers undertaking real tasks, therefore it can provide objective performance data such as time spent on the task, rate of error and task success.

Why Usability is Important for Websites?

The main objective of usability testing is to determine the usability errors, user satisfaction and collect quantitative data. Think of it as when you visit a website, if you experience any kind of lag, you might opt out of a website. Similarly, if the website is not able to deliver what you expect from it, people would never stay on the website even for a second.

A few might find usability testing challenging, but it is easy to handle. The cost and time could surge up if you don’t know the what is the purpose of your testing and what you are trying to figure out. The biggest challenge for a website manager is to know how humans behave instead of how CMS or search engine works.

It is becoming increasingly important to offer user experience on our website. If you are not sure how to perform usability testing, let me get you through each step.

What is Your Goal?

Firstly, make sure to set your goals. Just like any other process, it is important to know what you are going to dig out of it. Why are you conducting these tests? However, don’t mix up your hypothesis with assumptions and usability testing doesn’t mean to accommodate every aspect from one to all. Set the goals and prioritize each aspect, specify any methodology in order to make the process simpler, easier and useful.

Who is your Audience?

Who is your audience, what kind of users do opt-in your website and what is their purpose? If you fail to identify the right target audience, you will fail before even starting the testing. For example, if your website is for project managers, search for project managers. Don’t test on randomly chosen people because they are not aware of your problems and you might collect data that is not useful at all. Similarly, hiring friends or family members will also not help you at all.

Prepare the Testing Space

The basic requirements of user testing require right space and right tools. Make sure to set the room and get rid of all the distractions, but don’t make it look too experimental. The users should not feel uncomfortable and intimidated at all. The equipment should be working ideally whether it be recording equipment, computer or camera. As soon as you get the equipment tested, you will be confident that nothing goes wrong during the testing process. If you can’t do it in person, it is a lot easier to do online. Just have the right usability-testing tool that can be used remotely.

Instructions for Testers

Testers need to have clear instructions and make it easier for them to know what to do. Users would be disappointed if they are unclear on the instructions. It is good to break down tasks into smaller ones because people have a short attention span. They might abandon it as soon as you anticipate it. The instructions should be concise and should never include the answers to the required questions.

Remove Distractions

Conducting usability testing requires users in it. The more people you engage in the room, the more distracting it would be. The tester might lose focus if more people are observing him. Moreover, make sure not to include product owners or developers in the room while testing takes place. They might involuntarily sway the testing process by signaling, murmuring or facial expressions. The ideal way to avoid this kind of situation is to conduct a remote usability test.

Be Neutral

It is better to stay neutral while testing is in progress. Actions like nodding your head, murmuring or frowning will affect the testing process. Make sure to remain quiet and never pass judgment like “this is not how you use”. The testing process is to conduct research and develop a better product, improving the overall customer experience. The testers should feel comfortable and with distraction, they might not respond properly.

Set the Time

The customer development process requires time, so make sure to include it in your research. The user might get jaded if the test requires a long time. Make the test time as short as you can. Try to include minimum people and consider the time session assigned for each while including them. Consider breaks during the testing session because spending hours on testing can be tiring. It might be possible that users try to get through the process faster by giving vague answers. If you like to avoid doing this, you can also use A/B testing tools or heatmaps to test your website’s usability. It will help you save time as well as putting you away from the hectic testing process from start to end.

Ask for help

You can find a lot of help online about how to conduct usability testing and increase customer engagement. As a beginner, you might come up with a few mistakes. However, you can ask for help from an expert and experienced professional.

Once you are used to how the users are reacting on your website, it won’t be difficult to conduct usability testing. Moreover, learning how experts used to test and gather customer experience insights will be a plus point. The more you learn, the more your experience, the better the usability testing will be.


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