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The Evolution of Usability Testing

One major way by which organizations fail in their attempts to improve software quality is by losing sight of the larger picture. Software testing may go a long way, but if the user’s viewpoint isn’t taken into account, the consequence might be an expensive blind spot. 

Usability testing is an important part of creating amazing products. Usability testing, unlike most other types of software testing, includes the product’s user rather than a tester. Usability testing involves assigning tasks to representative users and evaluating what they like or hate about a product, as well as where they struggle with an app, program, system, or platform. While there are several ways for usability testing, the process usually includes a participant performing a series of activities that the company utilises to enhance the product.

Read on to know more in detail about usability testing.

What Is Usability Testing?

It is a sort of software testing that is not functional. Understandability, learnability, attractiveness, operability, and compliance are the major categories. Usability testing determines how well we comprehend the software product, how simple it is to learn, and use, and how appealing it is to users under certain situations and needs.

Real-world users, not the developer team, often do this sort of testing. Because the development team is the one that produced the product, they are less likely to uncover issues relating to the user experience. Finally, usability testing helps the company achieve three crucial goals:

  • Identify design flaws
  • Identify areas where you can improve
  • discover more about the interests and behaviour of the targeted user

After this testing, your organization may therefore proceed with confidence, knowing that the product will fulfill the demands and expectations of its customers. If major difficulties develop, the organization will have the chance to uncover flaws and correct them either before production or in a subsequent iteration.

usability testing

Types Of Usability Testing

Following are the types of usability testing:

  • Unmoderated vs. moderated: A person (moderator) facilitates or guides the participant through the test, either in person or remotely, in moderated usability testing. Moderated usability tests enable the organization to respond to queries that arise throughout the testing process or probe the participant for further information if necessary. A logger that records the user’s activities, intents, and mistakes may be used in moderated usability testing. Participants in unmoderated usability testing may perform activities at their leisure without anybody monitoring or assisting them.
  • In-person vs. remote. These methods of usability testing should not be confused with moderated and unmoderated testing, which may take place remotely or in person. At-person usability testing, as the name implies, takes place on-site with the participant, rather than following tasks in their selected location (remote). Whether moderated or not, in-person usability tests provide UX researchers with a number of advantages. To eliminate any technological challenges and assure an ideal experience on the chosen/provided device, the organization might supply a device to the participant. This makes it easy to find individuals who don’t have access to a device that meets the system’s criteria. In-person usability assessments also allow the company to manage the testing environment and test prototypes that may not function on the participants’ own devices.  Remote usability testing lowers the organization’s costs by allowing people to assess a product from the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, the participant may utilize a familiar device to experience the product as they would in the real world, which is useful information for a UX researcher. When undertaken by an untrained researcher, remote usability testing might suffer from technological challenges, connectivity issues, and miscommunications. By completing an early technical review and prep work, a research operations (ResearchOps) team may smooth out some of these possible creases and guarantee that the testing runs as planned.
  • Guerrilla Testing: It is when you test anything without telling anybody. Guerrilla testing (also known as hallway testing or corridor testing) may disclose some useful usability insights as a low-cost, rapid alternative to more extensive testing. Guerrilla testing happens in the wild, such as in coffee shops and shopping malls, rather than meticulously cultivating a pool of volunteers. UX researchers use guerilla testing to contact unvented consumers for brief product assessments, generally shorter than a half-hour.
  • Usability Testing Partners:  Testing may be done on behalf of the company by functional or usability testing partners. While this kind of usability testing is more expensive, a partner often provides skills that the business does not have in-house. Furthermore, the usability or automated UI testing partner usually has access to a large pool of possible volunteers, which may develop depending on the demands of the client.
  • Screen recording: This method may be useful for reviewing the participants’ on-screen behaviours, such as where they browse and how rapidly they click. For live evaluation, you might potentially display the participant’s screen onto another device or monitor. Record the participant’s audio or video replies to questions for later review, since you could see something on replay that you missed the first time, such as a nonverbal indication. Screen and video recording may be done using a number of software solutions.
  • Contextual Inquiry: This technique of usability testing is conducted in the participant’s setting. The contextual inquiry includes a researcher interviewing the participant and seeing them while they use the product. It is less task-oriented than other methods of usability testing. Researchers may get in-the-moment insights by interviewing the participant during the exam, which the individual would otherwise forget or omit in a post-session report.

The Benefits of Usability Testing

Usability testing assists us in achieving the following goals:

  • Ensure that the user’s expectations are met: Usability tests determine whether or not the product meets the users’ real expectations. A banking app, for example, should make the most of resources in order to process or receive payments as smoothly as possible, which is the one thing your consumers want from it. If the program fails to achieve this precise objective, it is meaningless to the users, and as a result, it must rely on matching their expectations.
  • Recognize the needs and concerns of your customers: Usability testing aids in determining the demands of customers and what annoys them while using the software. Identifying these wants and concerns might lead the team to develop a better user-focused product.
  • Uncover Problems You Didn’t Know About: We discover irregularities that would be impossible to notice under other circumstances via usability testing. Usability testing, for example, may reveal why a user entirely disregards some critical website components. Minor flaws, such as a broken link, an inaccurately displayed picture, or a button, might damage the site’s /convenience apps and functioning.
  • Enhance the User Experience: What are people’s impressions of your software’s usefulness, simplicity of use, and efficiency? Do they want to learn more about it or do they feel compelled to switch to other apps? One of the major benefits of usability testing is that it helps us answer these questions in order to enhance how a user interacts with and experiences a product.
  • Ascertain if the app’s functionality corresponds to the requirements: On the one hand, an effective system must fulfil consumer requirements; on the other, it must adhere to company requirements. If the business need is for users to enter their email addresses in the first field of the subscription page and their passwords in the second field, we should make sure that they can do so. To put it another way, do these features work as they should? During usability testing, we may learn about their capabilities.

Different Stages Of Usability Testing

Following are the different stages of usability testing:

Step 1: Make a comprehensive plan.

The most important stage in the process is to create a usability test strategy. Make sure you have well-stated objectives at this point. Do you wish to gather qualitative or quantitative information? Do you want users to be able to engage with the navigation or with the aesthetic? These responses will guide you in creating the best prototype for user testing.

Step 2: Prepare your prototype or finished product for testing

Usability testing is often carried out throughout the early phases of development. This implies we can’t test the final product since we don’t have it yet. Usability testing is done in the early phases of development to discover obstacles or modifications that would be costly in the later stages. However, we still need the product in order to do the test. For this reason, most firms create a prototype. It might be a sample app or a website with restricted functionality. However, in order for the usability testing technique to have any impact on the development, a prototype that is faithful to the vision of the ultimate product is required.

Step 3: Find the ideal people to test with

Identifying your target demographic is the first step in attracting the correct consumers. Not everyone is the intended market for an online toy retailer, for example. This phase is a little easier for corporate products since the target audience is already determined, so all you have to do now is find a solid mix of people to test with. Although, for corporate products, many user groups may exist. As a result, it’s critical that you recruit from each set or as many as feasible.

Step 4: Carrying out the usability test

The actual testing is frequently the most enjoyable aspect of the whole procedure. Make sure the usability test is conducted in a distraction-free environment. Any logistical obstacles, such as a bad connection or recording issues, should be addressed ahead of time. These difficulties should be resolved with a dry run.

Step 5: Thoroughly document the testing

The testing will be useless if you do not meticulously record everything. Compile the findings for analysis after you’ve completed the tests. Prepare a summary of your results in one of the pre-defined forms. Fill up any gaps in your results by listening to the test recordings. This stage will automatically occur throughout the testing process since you have already covered the formats and techniques for the documentation.

Step 6: Analyze and re-analyze

Work with your designers and/or product managers to examine the findings based on your test results. Keep an open mind while approaching the exam, since some results may be utterly contrary to your expectations. Don’t become too wedded to the design; that is the goal of user testing. Improve depending on the test’s findings and comments. You may utilize your reports to identify problems that arise throughout the test and use them as a starting point for future releases.

Platforms like Lambda Test can help you in performing Usability Testing. Cross browser testing may be done manually or automated on any of the 3000+ browsers available online. With the most capable cross-browser testing tool, you can deploy and scale quicker. When it comes to producing high-quality digital content, automated browser testing is essential. As a business, your first aim is to reach out to your target audience through a well-designed website or online application. However, the most significant problem that firms confront is determining how to do automated cross-browser testing, since manual testing may be taxing, time-consuming, and costly for contemporary enterprises. Read this blog to learn how to use Selenium to do cross-browser testing and to learn about the Selenium 4 framework’s most helpful features.

About the author


Shelly is an avid reader, and the love of reading takes her to content writing eventually. She loves writing on various topics.

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