Usability is an important aspect of the QA process that focuses entirely on creating the perfect user experience. The whole focus of the testers with usability testing is to allow users to interact with the application or software. And therefore, it needs testers to work on every aspect of UX design, especially the five essential attributes of ensuring quality for a usable product, i.e., efficiency, memorability, learnability, memorability, and errors.
When all these factors are targeted into UX testing, it becomes easier for usability testing services to meet the usability goals attaining a sophisticated end-user experience. Since the most pleasing user interface cannot guarantee the success of functionality objectives, usability testing helps to cater to all the objectives related to user experience.
But Why Does Usability Matter?
Before we dig deeper into understanding Usability testing, it is necessary to understand the meaning of usability and what makes it so crucial for UX. Usability is the primary factor that helps testers ensure a pleasing interface while meeting the aforementioned essential quality attributes.
Memorability is a quality attribute that defines the time a user needs to establish proficiency on the website after not using the product. Learnability could be limited as the ease users could learn to navigate the website to meet any defined objectives. At the same time, efficiency is the ability of the user to complete a task. Besides, errors refer to convenience with which users could learn from their mistakes and manages to achieve the ultimate goal of overall efficiency.
Overall, meeting all these attributes helps achieve a product that provides maximum usability and cultivates the desired end-user experience. Therefore, most professional designers look for every single aspect of UX as it is vital to create products that are valuable for people.
On the other hand, if users cannot understand the features provided on the application, even the most beautiful interface could turn the business down. This is why most DevOps and Testing teams consider usability testing to be a highly significant part of the UX.
Usability Testing: The Definition
Sticking to the definition, Usability testing is a process to test a suitable product for potential users. The technique helps designers and testers create an application, software or help identify errors and issues affecting UX. Usability testing is usually done before the project lands into the development arena as it helps to overrule any inefficient requirements rather than fixing the complete product.
Overall, usability testing helps testers understand the needs and choices of the end-users to craft the perfect UX. Besides, usability testing allows testers and developers to gain all the insights vital for creating a reliable UX design and complimenting the product development.
Usability Testing Methods
When you need to have the most effectiveness and profit from your test initiatives that target Usability, there are three main methods that you can choose.
Explorative testing is done at the very beginning of the UX designing process. It usually involves testers and designers taking real-time users’ wireframes to record their reactions. Exploratory testing even helps develop an understanding of how a user comprehends a product.
The assessment method refers to testing the usability of goods through prototypes while measuring the overall user satisfaction. The information collected is then used to eliminate all the usability issues that affect the overall performance. Moreover, the assessment method is more of real-time experiments that help track the reaction and errors of the users.
Comparative testing methods are used when designers need help on different models, wireframes, or solution options. The approach requires comparing other UX elements to share the feedback with creative developers, which usually accommodates all the pros and cons of all the solutions crafted.
Apart from this, the digital transformation initiatives have paved the way for so many usability methods, and each one has its application based on the circumstances. Also, the choice of the technique varies for the budget and objectives of the testing team.
Let us quickly explore some common types of usability testing practices and find suitable ones for the varying scenarios.
Types Of Usability Testing
This type of testing works by assigning experts to evaluate a product for the usability testing benchmarks. The method helps to gain consistent and detailed feedback on a product allowing gathering a more detailed report with minimum resources.
However, the process usually involves testing professionals who have the right tools to test usability and draw common usage patterns. Known as Automated expert review, the feedback gained is the fastest of all other practices but still lacks detecting all system peculiarities due to human factors involved.
Hallway testing is about testing a product on a random group of people. It usually involves testers or designers considering someone passing the hallway or any random area. The practice is quite difficult to undertake as it becomes difficult to find people interested in taking part in the experiment and delivering constitutive feedback.
Besides, the process is usually implemented when the most significant chunk of development is worked already, and the person called for testing could experience more of a complete product. It is an affordable and rapid testing method which makes it quite common to use.
Paper Prototype Testing
Since wireframing is one of the most essential parts of product development, it can work on a simplified and schematic representation of the product layout. The layout usually includes the outline for any specific focus points that represent any connections or structures that need attention.
These wireframe layouts can then be taken to the users who can interact with paper models to handle specific tasks forward. Though the process is more of an unsophisticated approach, the earliest affordability and ease of identifying issues make it highly usable.
Remote Usability Testing
As it is clear from the name, remote usability testing can be worked from different geographical locations to find out how users from diverse cultures perceive an application. Remote usability testing is further categorized as synchronous and asynchronous testing.
Synchronous remote testing is worked using video conferencing or sharing tools as it follows a synchronic approach to test how a product behaves in real-time. However, the only problem with remote usability testing is that it needs users from different time zones to gather at a particular time, which is quite challenging to pursue.
On the other hand, asynchronous testing is easy to manage as it needs testers to define tasks for the users. At the same time, the clickstreams and errors are automatically recorded as a user interacts with the application. On top of that, small feedback is collected from the users on their experience to find out how users from varying cultures react to a product.
Thinking aloud is another usability testing practice that gathers feedback right during the usage process. The process needs testers to ask users to verbalize their thoughts on the production under the development stage. Furthermore, the information collected is then used to comprehend UX goals.
Though there are several usability testing methods, it is vital to find the best of all suitable for the specific circumstances. Therefore, processes can be changed based on the goals and benefits that the testers want to reap with their efforts. Meanwhile, there are so many exclusive benefits usability testing could bring to you. These include:
- All the information gathered through usability testing helps advance UX
- Early identification of bugs that are unnoticeable for the creative team
- Added product efficiency
- A big save on costs
- Rapid elimination of errors or mistakes
- High usability helps create a better market impression.
All in all, building something again from scratch is a difficult task. On the other hand, partnering with a usability testing services provider helps you to cut off any lags or issues in the first place while giving you all the essential exposure to create a product that can outperform the competitors and help yield business objectives.
Kanika Vatsyayan is Vice-President of Delivery and Operations at BugRaptors, who oversees all the quality control and assurance strategies for client engagements. She loves to share her knowledge with others through blogging. Being a voracious blogger, she published countless informative blogs to educate the audience about automation and manual testing.