Six steps to getting a usability test right

Here are 6 quick steps to get your usability test on the way.

STEP 1:

Plan ahead.  Decide when you want to run the usability study and work backwards from there. Have a kickoff meeting with your stakeholders to:

  • discuss the participant profile
  • determine the key tasks that need testing
  • walk through the prototype to be tested with the business/dev team.

STEP 2:

Screen. Screen. Screen. Hand pick participants for whom the product is meant for. Selecting random participants for the usability test might not convince the business or tech team of the insights drawn from the study.

STEP 3:

Get your questions ready. It’s all about asking the right questions. Structure questions that will help get to the bottom of things. Don’t assume that you understood what the participant said. Always ask “why?”

STEP 4:

Plan a pilot. Do a dry run a day before the actual study.  Invite a stakeholder over to watch the session. That way, you can tweak your actual test based on your pilot. It’s a great way of ensuring that you have better findings.

STEP 5:

Test. Always ensure you are at the test venue at least an hour earlier. Run a quick check on equipment, revise the script and run through the prototype to be tested. Murphy has known to be especially active in usability labs.

STEP 6:

Get involved. Get your team to watch a few usability sessions. Get your stakeholders to join as well. Get your boss to join in. Seriously! Having people who are directly or indirectly connected to the product watch the sessions can have some great implications. Decisions that had been stuck within boardrooms are bound to be made in a jiffy.

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