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.

13 steps to effective user/stakeholder interviews

I had the good fortune to conduct user and stakeholder interviews with regard to an application that the client had developed 6 months ago. The application was up and running and this project was launched in order to look at streamlining the application and making it more intelligent and easy to use.

This is where I came in… My job was to personally fix interviews with the interviewees. The only problem was that the interviewees belonged to several different countries across the world. I must accept however that I have never a more satisfying experience where work was concerned. It was actually enlightening to speak to so many of these people around the globe.

So here’s how an interview is conducted. Continue reading