Abstraction:Usability testing is thecharacteristic of a product that describes its ease of use.
This documentrepresents how to conduct usability testing. Basically in process of usabilitytesting develop test plan that describes product required resources, set uptest environment, select appropriate participant for performing the usabilitytesting. Prepare test material that is used for collecting data, communicatewith participant, legal requirement specification.
After completed basic workin usability testing conduct test session that include checklist for checkingthe usability testing session than after that analyze data and prepare finalreport. Recommendations involved in report and it is not necessary that allrecommendations are implemented so put high priority first.Introduction:During productdevelopment we see potential users of our product meansto check the user working, pay attention to their needs and see whatworks well (what might make experience work good). Usability testing isproductive and can be simple as pay attention to people. It basicallyidentifies the area where people work with product. Its main purpose is tomake design better and getting better understanding of user interaction withproduct. It can give us objective performance data such astime on function, bug rates and function prosperity.
Meet with the developmentmembers to map out aims for the product and talk about what sectors of productyou will assess. To gain the information about your test you ask for feedbackon product explanation, participants desired excellence, goals for test, timelinefor test( when product ready for test, when team argue about the outcomes). Wecan test product at many stages of development. If a proper methodology usedthen get good results of usability testing. How to conduct usability testing isnot difficult it’s a process that includes some steps and by following thesesteps you can get suitable results of usability testing.
The process starts bymaking test plan and setting test environment. You should hire team forusability test or do it by yourself. Prepare test material for collecting dataand scheduled test sessions. After every session collect and analyze data,prepare report and if there are recommendations link report to therecommendation and put high priority first for recommendation. Then you will beaware of most serious issue in product/website/app and try to sort out theseissues.Process of conducting usability test:It can be easy to receivebad/ worse usability testing results if proper methodology not used. Theprocess of conducting usability testing involves followingDevelop test planSetup testingenvironmentFind and selectparticipantPrepare test materialConduct test sessionAnalyze data andobservationReport finding andrecommendationsTest plan:It prove howwhen where why who what of your usability test.
In simple words, we need testplan to keep you organized. In test plan we keep record of steps thatyou carry out, how we do testing, what matrices capture,some participant, what testing situation will use. It’s necessary todevelop test plan because it explain how we will testing the product, it’s likean interface between designer and developer, test moderator and developmentteam. Most projects are dynamic and many times the people say that the mainagenda was not pointed so for this inconvenience test plan used for gettingfeedback from other members. It describes the product required resources.
Different parts of test plan include test goals, research questions,participant qualities, test design, task list, testing environment, testmoderator, report, session information, background information and conclusion.Test goals basically research questions. Session information is a list thatincludes session time and participant. To find the aims ofparticipant we use background information and ask question toparticipant at the end.
Setup testing environment:The place wheretest is conducted is basically testing environment.Determine suitable place of usability testing by keeping in mindabout test design and measures, logistics, public relationship with company,participant availability. Many time tests conducted at multiple places, but itsfine if you only test local. Testing also conducted on user workplace but forthis get permission from management.
Testing is also conductingat test lab.Find and select participants:Depending on the goal ofthe product development, select right participant. We can find participant bymeeting up web design/front end programmer, recruit through socialnetworking sites (linked in, twitter, Facebook), consider friend, familyand colleagues, user groups, clubs, societies and associations. Acriterion for participant includes age, employment status (part-time, full-time)highest level of education, drupal experience (beginner, intermediatelevel, experience) role (website developer, content writer, themer). The abovecharacteristic depends on product ad task that participant do. Whendetermine user profile keep in mind that is the user purchaser, buyer, andend-user.
After getting information from various parts of your company/projectthen interpret that information to develop requirements for usability testing.The user profile describe skills, behavior, experience that make uptarget end-user. Divide the user profile in distinct categories.
Writescreening questionnaire which means for qualifying and selecting participants to takepart in the test. It depends on background of participants of the product.To develop screen questionnaire use step of review profile of participant,identify choice criteria, prepare screening questionnaire, organizequestion in specific order, develop format, test questionnaire and reviewit, also create answer sheets. Select participant through interview andscreening questionnaire. After selection confirms participant to workon product.
Most important thing is to keep the personal private information ofparticipant safe.Prepare test material:More labor intensiveactivity in usability testing is test material preparation. Testmaterial will be used for data collection, communicate withparticipant, legal requirement satisfaction. The test materialinvolves script orientation, background questionnaire, data collectioninstruments, recording consent form, pre test questionnaire, task scenario,script orientation figure during test session what will happen, inparticipant mind-set tone for that session. During script orientationkeep speech short, keep tone professional. The background questionnaire helpsin understanding the behavior of participants during test.
Background questionnaire includes participant attitude, experienceand preference in all area that affects performance. We will record data bydifferent data collection tools/methods. First state simply andgather some information for each participant such as each task wascompleted? Whether assistance required, major obstacle with each task, timerequired for task completion. When type of data cleared then choosewhich method used for collecting data (online data collection, usergenerate data collection, any other data collection). Gather datafrom participants then few forms might consider that are nondisclosure, consentform, recording permission.
Nondisclosure form required for externalmarket place product. Recording permission means get writtenpermission from participant to record them during usability test. If you workfor public institution then ask participant to sign consent form. To addressparticular test objective use pre test questionnaire. It proves firstimpression and attitude of participant such as does product look easyto use? Does a terminology understand? Is product different/ similar form otherproducts? Through this it’s easy to understand the participant feeling beforeusage occurs. It also discovers the opinion of participant aboutvalue of product (priority of using it). To represent actual work usedtask scenarios.
Task scenario represent real work that participantwould do using product. Task scenario determines the resultthat achieved by participant, motives for performingtask, actual data, when task start the state of system, during testperforming the printouts and displays that participant will see. For developingtest scenario follow these guidelinesUse actual study,customer phone calls, task analysis, customer visits. Test results getting morereliable when scenario represents reality.Sequencing task scenarioin orderAvoid words that includemenu items, screen titles, actual button nameIf there are participantof different experience level then make sure the degree of difficulty ofscenario is balanced with experience level.In each scenario try tospend enough amount of work. After developing task scenariodistribute them and letting participant to read.
Conduct test session:After completed basicwork and preparation for usability testing begin actual testing.Before starting actual process of testing first check basic ofmoderating testing that include key points on participant assistant,implementing think aloud technique and general recommendation on how to workwith participant. Present the product neutrally, never show through your speechthat you disapprove/approve any action came from participant, never makeparticipant feel inadequate by your response. Encourage participant to focus ontheir own work not looking other participants work. Make specialeffort on your voice use moderate pitch not loud pitch. If you are testing morethan one participant then treat each participant as an individual becauseeach participant demonstrates valuable opportunity for your product.Think aloud technique capture what participant thinking while working, interactwith participant appropriately.
After reviewing basics of moderating beginactual process of testing. After all preparation work accomplishment startactual test by making checklist. First checklist isa week or so before test: take the test yourself, conduct pilot test, reviseproduct, check test environmentSecond checklist is oneday before test: check video equipment is ready, check status of participant,check software/hardware/product is working, and double-check testingequipmentThird checklist is theday of test: scan checklist, prepare yourself, greet participant, haveparticipant fill out questionnaire, start recording, establish prototype forobserver, provide prerequisite training, read written task scenario, debriefparticipant, close the session, organize data collection, debrief withobserver. Debriefing determine participant actions. When questioning theparticipant never make them feel defending about their actions, also not reacton their answers. Analyze data andobservation: Finally you havecompleted the testing now interchange data into recommendation forimprovements. Data analysis falls into two categories that arepreliminary and comprehensive analysis.
In comprehensive analysis thedeliverable is last and exhaustive report. This analysistakes place during two to four weeks period after test. It involvespreliminary report finding and all other findings that were not previouslycovered.
In preliminary analysis quickly find out worst problem so thatdesigner immediately works on it without waiting for final test report. Itsdeliverable is either small written report. There are following steps involvedin preliminary analysis compile summarize and analyze data. In compiling alldata place into a form that allows seeing pattern, it’s a checkpoint to seewhether you collect correct data after completing the session. You havethe various types of data at the hand then organize that data.
Aftercompilation completed then transfer information from data collection sheets tosummarize sheets. After summarizing analyze data find tasks that didnot meet success criteria also find user errors and difficulties.Report finding and recommendations:Finding is basically theobservation. Write out the finding, expand the discussion of eachfinding, determine global finding, sort out finding (task, research question,product section, how team organized). PowerPoint presentation canbe suitable to document your findings or in or academic environment useformal document report.
After presenting findings link them to recommendationon how modified results. Recommendation is basically the talking point on whatneed to be modified for making/ to make the product usable. All recommendations maynot be able to carry out, so put high priority first then tryto carry out medium level and so on. In recommendation focus onsolutions that will have good impact, ignore political considerations, coverall issues thoroughly also talk about where team should do further research. Reportis basically writing of what you have done. The report shouldbe outlined, determine/ describe the background summary on whytesting was needed, determine methodology, using chartsand tables to highlight testing session, participant taskoverview, matrices collected. Report positive finding highlight anyopportunity for improvement.How to conduct your own website:May be company does nothave budget for hiring usability testing so it’s not difficult to conductusability testing by yourself.
All you need is usability plan, set action planto modify website based on your observation. First you should consult withdevelopment team, management, people who gave you website content. If developmentteam is responsible for content then it’s very easy to get proper plan. Basicallywhat you are going to complete, what testing situation you will use, number ofparticipants is recorded in test plan. Then that plan gets passed out aroundthe management or rest of them. Once final plan is agreed upon then writtenplan is completed to return final decision.
After plan approval it’s time toimplement that plan. Make sure about equipment, test participants, locations andtest scenario. Assign task and scenario to each participant. Explain testingends upon completion and allow suitable time for task completion. After taskcompletion collected test metrics, ask questions, allow participant to offer improvement,comment likes and dislikes.
After that compile data that you have collect andprepare report. The report should be outlined and should begin with why testingwas needed, then move to methodology, participants, overview of task. Show theresult of data and link final report to recommendations on how website need tobe modified.Conclusion:During product/website/appdevelopment we can observe working of users.
Usability testing is used togetting better understanding of user interaction with product. Testing start by settingthe goals that should be accomplished by the user during testing. These goalsshould be particular, should say what user should do.
Next we should find theteam or do it by own self. Depending on environment and collected data describewhether test session will be held. Collect data after every session, all datahas been analyzed and we should have clear picture of what are most strikingissue in product/website/app.References:Usability testing andresearch by carol barum, longman(2002)A particular guide of usabilitytesting by joe Dumas and gimy redish(2nd edition)How to plan design andconduct effective test by jeff rubin, dand chisnell(2nd edition)Usability test plan by Andrewdubois, Karen Purcell and Monique HortonSoftware usability testing with moraeUsability testing byshneiderman