Usability Testing Process and Test Methods

Published on August 31, 2017 - by Softcrylic under testing

The “ease of use” is one of the key factors that determines an app’s adoption levels and market success. Usability Testing measures how well a system or an application can be used by real users under controlled conditions and achieve their intended goals.

Usability Testing cannot be easily replaced by Automation as only humans can test an application for it’s convenience, nuances, heuristics and unexplored confusions.

Here is a typical process flow of Usability Testing

usability testing process flow

Below are some test methods to gather data for Usability Testing

1. A/B Testing or Split Testing

A/B testing is an experimental analysis that compares multiple versions of an application against each other to determine which one performs better. A/B testing displays the current version of the application and a slightly modified one, to understand which one is efficient and which one drops-off. It uses qualitative and quantitative analysis (statistical) that validates the intended goal.

The application of A/B Testing is wide for many business areas. This testing takes away the guess work by relying on data that is generated by testing close variations of the same application.

2. Remote Usability Testing

Remote usability testing is performed when evaluators and users are located in different countries and time zones. The test will be moderated by the evaluator interacting with the test participant using WebEx, GoToMeeting, or other screen sharing tools. An alternate method can be an un-moderated test where the users are given test sessions to complete and the test results are reviewed by the moderator. Automated tools are used to capture user clicks and understand visitor’s intent.

3. Think-aloud protocol

This method is a qualitative data collection technique to understand users’ own reasons for their behavior. The think-aloud protocol allows users to think aloud while performing a specific task making their thought process explicit and making a note of all verbalizations carefully for later analysis. Test sessions are often audio and video-recorded for developers to go back and refer to participants’ action and behavior.

4. Co-discovery learning

This method is an adaption of think-aloud protocol where users are grouped in pairs and the product under test is provided to test users. While testing the product, the users talk naturally to each other about what they think about the product and work towards a common goal. The evaluators can measure the time taken for different tasks, number of tasks completed, number of times the users accessed help, etc. with which they can determine the quality of the interface, effort required to achieve results, etc.

5. Eye-tracking

It is the method of measuring the motion of eye possibly eye movement and eye position. Eye tracking analyzes user interaction and time between clicks to provide insights on the most eye-catching features, which one causes confusion and the ones that are totally ignored. Particularly, eye-tracking can be used to assess navigation usability and overall product design. This is very helpful for Web and Mobile Applications.

6. Expert Reviews

In this method, an UX expert assesses the product for any potential issues and evaluates it with any of the following 3 methods:

  • a) Heuristic Evaluation – the product’s interface is reviewed and compared against the accepted principles of usability testing
  • b) Cognitive walkthrough – this process aims at connecting the point of view of the users with the expert where the expert performs the role of a user
  • c) Checklist – this process uses a checklist describing the product’s operations and the result is the points or percentage scored. The analysis may also include additional remarks such as recommended changes, good practices used by the competition

Usability testing is aimed at breaking assumptions and capturing the users’ observation and behavior. Testing with real users bridges the gap between what is developed and how it is consumed.


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Softcrylic helps organizations navigate and execute the path of Digital Transformation through IT solutions and services. Since 2000, Softcrylic has worked with both start-ups and Fortune 500 organizations to help make their company goals a reality.

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