In order for software to operate successfully, usability testing is very important. Usability testing is essential to identify problems in the design of the product or service, uncover opportunities to improve, and learn about the target user’s behavior and preferences. In this article, VNEXT Global will analyze usability testing in terms of definition, a variety of types and main issues.
What Is Usability Testing?
Usability testing is all about getting real users to interact with a website, mobile app, web app, or other software product, and observing their reactions and other expectations to it. Whether you carry out the software project in-house or outsourcing, usability testing is a necessary step to make sure you build an efficient and effective experience for your users.
This type of software testing is especially recommended during the initial design phase of the software development life cycle (SDLC), which gives more visibility on the preferences of the target users.
Types Of Usability Testing?
1. Guerilla Testing
The most basic type of usability testing is guerilla testing. Guerrilla testing basically entails asking other people about your prototype. Participants in tests are picked randomly. Real user inputs are collected through inexpensive and straightforward testing.
In the early stages of the product development process, guerilla testing is the most effective. When you have wireframes or low-fidelity prototypes, guerrilla testing is useful for gathering feedback and feelings at a very early stage.
However, guerilla testers could not accurately represent the target market for your software product. Guerrilla testing may not be appropriate for evaluating specialty products that require specialized knowledge, such as software for finance brokers.
2. Lab Usability Testing
Lab usability testing is conducted in certain settings (laboratories) under moderator supervision. A moderator is a professional who collects opinions from users. In a moderated test, moderators guide test participants through activities, while responding to their questions and suggestions simultaneously.
When you require in-depth knowledge of how actual users interact with your software product and what problems they are facing, lab usability testing is the most effective method. You can use it to know more about the causes of user behavior. You can gather more in-depth data because this testing is carefully moderated. However, lab testing may be expensive to carry out because you need to prepare a workspace, recruit test subjects, and pay a moderator.
3. Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing
As the name implies, this kind of testing means remote usability testing without a moderator. It provides quick, reliable, and affordable user testing results. In order to simulate real usage of the product, test participants are required to perform tasks using their own devices and in their own environments without the presence of a moderator. Unmoderated testing is less expensive, but it also gives less comprehensive test findings.
When you require a sizable sample to back up findings from your initial moderated research, unmoderated remote usability testing is the most effective method. In other words, you have a specific hypothesis that you would like to test on a sizable portion of your user base. You can test a specific question or look at user behavior patterns via unmoderated remote usability testing.
4. Contextual Inquiry
Contextual inquiry is a technique that helps a development team to learn more about the user experience from real users. Before being observed and asked while working in their actual locations or real situations, users as samples are first asked a series of questions regarding their experience with a software product.
This method is helpful for gathering detailed information about users, including their workspace, habits, and personal preferences. The development team will be able to create a well-tailored experience with the aid of having all this information available at the start of the design process. Contextual inquiry, also, can be used to measure user satisfaction with you mobile app, web app or website.
5. Phone Interview
In a phone interview, participants are given instructions to take actions on their electronic devices, such as laptop, PC, or mobile phone. Therefore, it can be considered a part of remote usability test, and feedback is automatically gathered. The user interactions are recorded remotely.
Phone interviews are a great approach to gather feedback from test participants around the world.
6. Card Sorting
Card sorting is a great way to improve features and content of the user interface (UI). You place concepts (content, characteristics) on cards, then let test participants organize the cards into groups and categories. This is a straightforward procedure. Participants sort the cards, and then the moderator asks them to explain to understand their reasons.
When you want to improve the navigation of your software product before creating a low-fidelity prototype, card sorting is the most suitable method. You may make better data-informed decisions by collecting feedback on your software structure.
7. Session Recording
Session recording is the process of recording user interactions with a website, web app or mobile app while they remain real (but anonymous) is known as. By using heatmap analysis, session recording data can reveal which features and content users find most exciting, as well as any issues they have to face when interacting with your product.
You can better know about the main issues people encounter and make improvements when using your software product by using recorded sessions.
Main Problems Of Usability Testing
Here are some possible problems that could happen during the usability testing:
Selecting samples is not easy
As usability testing is to identify user expectations and preferences, it requires a large number of participants as samples, so that you can have an analysis which is as accurate and insightful as possible. However, finding such a large number of suitable samples is not easy at all.
Usability test cases are quite hard to run
Because usability testing is non-functional, it must be conducted manually, not automatically. As a result, it is far more time-consuming to complete the tests. The testing performance and the test result analysis are typically labor-intensive tasks for the quality assurance (QA) team.
Usability testing is quite expensive
Usability testing covers a wide range of scope and takes such a long time to complete. A larger budget and longer timeline is required, consequently.
The outcome is arguable
The test outcome might be affected because users are chosen randomly and the testing does not entirely represent real-life events. It is impossible to expect all participants to provide fair and accurate inputs; therefore, it can be hard to obtain exactly accurate outcomes.
Usability testing plays an important role in your software testing, as well as the software development process. Hopefully, this article from VNEXT Global has helped you to have a clearer view of usability testing when applying it in your process of building your mobile apps, web apps or websites.
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