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Usability Testing FAQ

DZone's Guide to

Usability Testing FAQ

Before you invest in any type of web design or training services, it’s important to first learn about usability testing.

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There are so many things to consider when building a website, and usability is one of them. It doesn’t matter how wonderful a web page looks; if it is not user-friendly, it’s not going to be successful. Organizations such as the Austin Coding Academy strive to train web developers to create user-friendly websites and apps.

Before you invest in any type of web design or training services, it’s important to first learn about usability testing.

Here are some frequently asked questions.

What Exactly Is Usability Testing?

It is simply an assessment of how easy a user interface is to use. The idea behind testing is to answer questions such as: Is the interface design pleasant to use? How easy is it for even the most inexperienced user to learn and use? How many errors does the average user make? Are the errors severe? Usability testing should NOT be confused with market research. As Wikipedia puts it, the latter typically involves “systematic observation under controlled conditions.” However, both it and qualitative research can be used in combination to better understand users’ perceptions as well as their actions.

How Is Usability Testing Done?

Testing usually occurs before the launch of a site or app. It is both an official and unofficial process. During the design and coding phase, designers and IT experts have researched the needs of the company and its potential users. Once developed, the site or app is released in beta form to a group of users who test it out and submit their feedback.

Testing is also done every single time a user submits feedback, from emails to tweets. It is essential that a company monitors feedback through its own customer support resources and social media channels in order to ensure that their product is performing optimally.

What Are the Primary Categories of Testing?

The first category is explorative testing, which is used early in the development phase to assess the effectiveness of a preliminary prototype or design. Assessment testing is used midway in the product development phase to evaluate the technology and to determine the overall usability and user satisfaction. The comparative testing phase involves the comparison of two or more instructional technology products to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Why Is Usability Testing So Important?

Because if a website or app isn’t user-friendly, nobody will want to stay on it for long. If a website is taking too long to load, for instance, visitors are going to leave it and visit another one instead. Nobody is going to use an app if it’s bugged and lacks intuitiveness. If there are such problems, they need to be fixed right away. Any investment in a web page is going to be a waste of money if the page isn’t user-friendly. Instead of leads and conversions, it’s going to have a high bounce rate. Usability testing gives web owners an idea of what needs to be worked on.

Are There Tools Available to Simplify the Testing?

There are numerous apps and tools available to help businesses perform all types of usability tests. OpinionLab, for instance, provides an opt-in, page-specific customer feedback system. UserZoom offers remote usability testing and UX benchmarking tools. UsabilityHub lets businesses test their designs and mockups on real users. It displays each visitor’s interactions on a website and pinpoints when and where they make mistakes.

Knowing when and where exactly users have difficulties on a website or application is essential, as it allows companies to make smarter decisions with their web design.

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Topics:
usability testing ,performance ,web design

Published at DZone with permission of NaveenKumar Namachivayam, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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