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What is 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.

Purpose of usability testing

Reasons for usability testing

Elements of usability testing

The facilitator guides the participants through testing by answering their questions and giving instructions. The facilitator ensures that the data collected is of high quality and valid.

The participant should be a user of the product or someone closely related to the target. The user might already be using the product, or they may be a new user. Participants are often asked to think aloud and discuss their behaviors, thoughts, and motivations.

Tasks are the specific activities that the participants are asked to perform. They can be very specific or open-ended, depending on the research questions. Task instructions are either given verbally or handed out in the form of task sheets. Participants are often asked to read the instructions aloud to ensure they have understood the instructions.

Elements of usability testing

Flow of information

The information flows between facilitator, participant, and tasks, as shown below:

Process

The process of usability testing is straightforward.

1. Plan the study: This includes defining the scope of the study and the types of participants you wish to test, identifying objectives, and establishing metrics.

2. Deciding logistics: This includes deciding the testing location (research lab, internet), timetable, the moderators to conduct the testing, and to set up the recording equipment for the testing.

3. Recruiting participants: Recruiting participants depends on testing goals. They can be hired through an agency, social media, or the clients can be participants.

4. Design tasks: This includes design scenarios and the tasks participants will be given to perform. Scenarios and tasks should be designed around the most important parts of the interface. A sample task can be to log your dinner into the health application.

5. Test users: This includes introducing, giving a pre-test brief, observe users, identifying problems, identifying solutions, and interviewing users.

6. Analyze findings: This includes assessing user behavior, identifying problems, and assessing navigation.

7. Create test report: This includes reviewing interview video footage, identifying design issues and best practices, and making design recommendations.

Conclusion

Usability testing is a very useful tool to identify interface issues with one-to-one interaction with the users. It reveals in-depth findings and allows us to make detailed design recommendations.

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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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