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What is qualitative usability testing?

Sheza Naveed

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Usability testing is a method where researchers give tasks to participants to perform on one or more user interfaces. While the participants are performing tasks, the researchers are observing them and listening to feedback.

Reasons for usability testing

There are two types of data that we can collect in a usability testing study:

  • Quantitative data

  • Qualitative data

Qualitative data offers detailed insights into the usability of the system. Researchers can see the users struggle with particular UI elements and task flows and ask them follow-up questions. This informs the researchers of the exact cause of the issue and thus allows them to craft solutions.

Qualitative research and data:

Participants mention their demographical details themselves as the study goes on in the form of an interview/discussion.

Lastly, this method must follow the basic rules of good experimental design:

  • Internal validity - the setup of the experiment must not favor one condition over another

  • External validity - the study group must represent the target audience, and study conditions must reflect how the study will be conducted in a real-life setting.

Both the above criteria are important to ensure unbiased results that are not unfairly skewed.

Qualitative usability testing is done when designers aim to look into particular usability issues of the interface to work on them. For example, it can be used to identify issues in an existing product in an attempt to redesign it for improvement.

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Sheza Naveed
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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