The 5 Most Effective Tips to Improve Usability Testing

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Usability testing involves evaluating a service or product by testing it with representative users. Users will be asked to complete various tasks, typically while a researcher observes them, to see whether they experience any confusion or encounter any issues. 

If more people encounter problems of a similar nature, it gives the company in question the ability to understand pain points within the user journey that need to be addressed. 

Of course, a usability test is only going to provide the insights you need if it is implemented correctly, and we are going to take a look at five of the different ways you can improve usability testing below. 

Why is usability testing important?

There are a number of different reasons why you should implement usability testing, including the following:

Be sure of product success prior to entering the market

Usability testing also acts as a key indicator of the success of your product in the marketplace. You can use it to validate your assumptions and figure out whether or not people find utility and value in your product. 

Usability Testing

You will also be able to determine any issues or red flags prior to the launch, ensuring upsetting and expensive problems are avoided. 

Use hard data to validate and amend features

One of the chief objectives of usability testing is that it gives you the power to validate your product plan using real evidence and hard data.

Did you know that 64 percent of software features are rarely or never used? By implementing usability testing, you can avoid wasted resources.

Save time

You won’t waste a huge number of valuable hours trying to fix user experience problems that have already been coded and deployed. Instead, you can pick up on these issues earlier. 

Usability testing enables you to validate at a very basic level whether or not your product is feasible to execute. 

It also gives you the power to determine possible problems upfront, enabling you to make better product decisions and iterate changes with ease.

Save money

You can also save money with usability testing. All you need to do is consider the expenses associated with development hours or with a problem that is identified late in the process and needs to be fixed retroactively and quickly. 

It always makes sense to build something to an ideal function, rather than trying to fix it. Upfront usability testing gives you the power to do this, meaning you can mitigate unexpected expenses later in the process. 

Five ways to enhance usability testing

As you can see, there are a lot of different benefits that are associated with usability testing. However, to experience these benefits, you need to make sure you have a great testing process in place.

So, let’s take a look at five helpful tips that can enable you to boost your usability testing efforts:

1. Start testing as soon as possible

Usability testing is something you need to do early on in the process. By testing your mobile application or e-commerce website early, you have the ability to make the required changes with more efficiency and ease.

Implementing the usability test early can act as a preventative measure in issues arising in the later phases of your project’s development. 

However, timing is everything, and it is important to be aware that some companies have made the blunder of carrying out usability tests too early on in the process. What’s too early? Well, if you do not have sufficient metric data for a solid assessment, you should wait.

That being said, you do need to make sure your usability test is conducted early enough so that you can mitigate any small issues, for example, problems with the interface or any other sort of issues with the application or website. 

2. Make the most of software

There are lots of great tools out there that can make your life easier when carrying out this type of user research.

calendly

Calendly, for example, is a powerful scheduling tool that will ensure you do not have to stress about the perspective of manually scheduling in all of your usability tests. Instead, Calendly can act as a middleman between yourself and the participants, ensuring you can set the times you are free for hosting a usability test. There are also Calendly competitors out there that can be as good of an option.

Another tool that a lot of people find beneficial is Reframer. This gives you the ability to run usability tests and assess insights with ease.

You can use Reframer to take thorough notes during the test, as well as applying tags like “struggled” or “positive” for different observations. 

Once the tests have been concluded, you can use the analysis feature on Reframer to help you get a better understanding of wider themes that are present across your participants. 

reframer

3. Be more flexible with your questions

When sitting down and running your usability testing sessions, it will certainly help to have a list of pre-prepared questions at hand. 

However, while the list is a necessity, it can sometimes be beneficial to go with the flow of the conversation, as you could end up in a much more fruitful direction. 

Ideally, and with sufficient practice, you should be able to get all of your prepared core questions answered while also asking a number of other questions that come to mind as well. This is something that does take time to master so it is important to be patient and to continue to perfect your skills. 

4. Put together a script for your tests

Aside from the suggestions we have mentioned so far, we would also advise that you put together a script for your usability tests.

There are a number of different things you can do to ensure your script is as effective as possible. For example, put together a warm and friendly introduction to ensure your sessions get off to a good start.

In addition to this, we recommend that you ask the user whether or not you can record the session. Recording the session is vital for analysis at a later date. However, you can make users feel a lot more comfortable if you ask them whether or not they would be happy with this. 

You should also encourage users to explain their thought process and make sure you set aside some time for the basis.

It is also important to let the user know that this is not a test of their capability or competence with the product in question. In such a setting, it is easy for the user to feel like it is their skills that are being examined, so it is vital that you highlight the purpose of the test.

If you have a script printed out, it can make you feel more comfortable and confident, and it ensures you do not forget anything either. 

5. Involve other stakeholders

Last but not least, another recommended approach for improving your usability tests is to incorporate other stakeholders.

Usability tests and user interviews provide an excellent opportunity to open up research to your broader organization. 

Whether it is other members of your immediate team or stakeholders, giving them the opportunity to sit down with users helps to give you another perspective, which can be incredibly valuable.

There are a number of different ways that other people can be included. For example, you can enlist the help of others to help you assess the data. There is a good chance that someone with an outside perspective may be able to catch something that you have missed. 

Plus, if you bring stakeholders into the assessment stage, they will be able to get a clear image of what it means and where the data has come from. 

Another way to incorporate others is by having a dedicated notetaker. This is going to make your life a lot easier! You can focus on running the session while knowing you have someone on hand to record any of the interesting observations that happen during the test.

You can also enlist the help of others when it comes to setting up the research. You can work together on the overarching research objectives. 

You can ask the person in question what sort of results they want to see, and also what type of tasks they think could be used in order to gather such results. 

Final words on usability testing

So there you have it: everything you need to know about usability testing and how you can make sure that your usability tests are as effective as possible. 

We know that usability tests offer great insights, but this is only going to be the case if you are performing these tests in the correct manner. If you follow the ideas and suggestions that we have provided, you will give yourself the best chance of performing usability tests that enable you to truly understand the user journey.

You can then use this information to continually refine the experience you provide, ensuring your potential customers are delighted every step of the way and increasing your chances of conversion. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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