I recently gave an introductory lecture on usability testing to an audience of project and program managers, each in charge of their own team’s online and mobile projects. The lecture was based on these three observations I’ve made in my past work:
- All web projects can benefit from usability testing
- Most web projects don’t include usability testing, often due to cost or schedule
- Basic usability testing is really not that difficult and most professionals can learn how to do it.
In my presentation I included an introduction to usability and covered the following usability testing methods on a high level:
- Task-based usability test
- First click test
- Five second test
- Comprehension test
- Online survey *
Here’s a slightly edited set of the presentation slides as posted on SlideShare:
* Online surveys are not a usability testing method as such, however they can still be highly useful in informing and guiding web projects.
The four closing points:
- Usability is easy and anyone can do it
- Observe and listen to learn about your users
- Testing with one person is heaps better than none
- Change and improve your website continuously
I based the materials on these two primary sources:
- Steve Krug (2009): Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems
- Christine Perfetti (Webstock 2011): Adventurous Usability Techniques: Novel Approaches for the Seasoned Pro.
I really like Krug’s down to earth, hands-on approach to task-based usability testing and the way he explains it in simple terms, without fuss. I reckon Krug’s books Don’t Make Me Think and Rocket Surgery Made Easy are must-reads for anyone interested in usability and how to conduct usability testing.
I also greatly enjoyed Perfetti’s presentation at Webstock this year where she shared lots of practical advice on usability testing methods such as first click tests and five-second tests that have become popular in recent times. These methods are not exclusive to “seasoned professionals” though, and I believe most can be successfully applied by non-UX folk as long as they appreciate the value of usability and have some previous experience in conducting task-based testing.
Steve Krug: Demo usability test
Video source: YouTube
Christine Perfetti: Adventurous Usability Techniques: Novel Approaches for the Seasoned Pro
TechWeb: Touring Google’s Usability Lab
Video source: YouTube
You may also be interested in the following related posts:
- What is usability and why should I care?
- Test your screen designs with Infomaki
- Tip: Print out your usability testing tasks
- Using Treejack to test your website structure
I also want to thank our client for allowing us to publish this edited version here!