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The Marketing AIvolution Blog

Unlock business potential with research-driven insights

June 12th, 2021
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9 Most Trending Usability Testing Methods

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Recent statistics indicate that approximately 76% of your customers would leave a product or service due to failure or bad experiences. Simply put, if it isn’t easy to use, then it’s not worth having. What’s worse is that once the customers are gone, they’re gone for good!

This is why usability testing is considered to be the holy grail of product testing. Usability testing is the process of evaluating a product or service by putting it through the paces with real-world consumers.

During the test, participants normally use the site while observers take notes. The purpose is to discover any usability issues, collect qualitative and quantitative data, and establish the level of satisfaction with the product among the participants.

While most companies prefer to undertake user research before launching a new product or service, UX usability testing approaches are more effective when performed throughout the lifecycle of the product or service.

Benefits of usability testing

Usability testing allows design and development teams to see issues before they’re coded. The sooner the issues are recognized and resolved, the better for customer retention and happiness. Here’s what usability testing seeks to achieve:

1. Determine whether or not participants are capable of successfully completing given activities.

2. Monitor the time taken to execute a certain set of tasks.

3. Assess the level of satisfaction with your website or product among participants.

4. Ascertain what modifications must be made in order to improve user performance and happiness.

5. Finally, evaluate the results to see if they satisfy your usability goals.

Why is user-based testing important for successful UX tests?

While defining usability testing earlier, we talked about testing with real-world customers. That’s because user-based testing is the only form that can provide definitive results. 

User-based testing is employed to evaluate a product or a specific UX element with real users during the design process. Observers from your company will be watching consumers interact with the product and follow-up improvements will be brainstormed in light of their responses.

User testing enables you to put real-world ideas in front of users to assess how well they interact with them. This strategy is commonly used to identify UX design instabilities to enable resolution prior to its production.

Wondering why user-based testing is crucial to your business? Well, the method is the most coveted mechanism because of four main key advantages:

Cost-efficient: User-based testing does not have to be expensive or take place in a lab to be effective. You may also save time and money on development by identifying which UX aspects are the most effective.

Accessibility: In-person and remote user-based testing is also possible. There are various types of user-based testing as you’ll see in the next section.

Flexibility: User-based testing can occur at any point during the user experience design process. However, it’s not necessary to conduct user testing until you have a UX prototype.

Customer’s point of view: User-based testing helps you to create UX elements from the perspective of a specific consumer. Nothing beats direct feedback from a real user when it comes to determining the best course of action.

Three basic principles of UX testing

Usability testing is an integral part of the product development process. Usability testing involves evaluating a document, website, or software comprehensively in order to ensure proper functioning and simplicity of use. Prototypes or recently completed products, and goods that have been in use for some time are all subjected to this form of testing at various points in their life cycle.

Usability testing entails seeing real people use a product. Unlike usability reviews, which frequently involve experts, testing is carried out by the target user base who can supply crucial information that experts cannot. Experts do not make the same mistakes that real users do which makes their input ever so valuable.

Setting quantifiable goals and analyzing whether the product achieves them is the essence of usability testing. The first step in usability testing is to figure out what the user is intended to perform.

The top 9 methods of Usability testing

Usability testing can be a useful tool in the UX design process. This section will walk you through the top 9 usability testing methodologies that you may use to test your UX elements to get started:

Guerilla testing

This form of UX usability testing involves selecting test subjects at random from a public location such as a coffee shop or shopping mall. Guerrilla testing involves giving them a modest incentive in exchange for completing a fast usability test. It’s a rapid technique to gather a huge number of qualitative results in a short amount of time.

It takes 10 to 15 minutes if you take 6 to 12 participants for this test. Guerrilla testing can be used to execute ‘ad-hoc’ research by members of your design team. There’s no actual need to pay for participant recruitment or any of the accompanying fees. 

If you can write the research sessions’ material yourself, you’ll have to invest money on incentives for the participants.

Moderated testing

Moderated testing is a sort of usability testing in which a moderator watches and guides participants as they complete tasks in person or remotely over the internet. A moderated research session allows you to interact with your participants in real-time to better understand their behavior and dig deeper into any pain spots or usability difficulties.

When employed early in the development or prototype phase of a product cycle, a moderated test might be beneficial. When you don’t have a finished product to offer participants but want their feedback on your ideas so you may save money on future designs and development, this is what you do. 

To test a more complicated product where users might need directions, moderated testing is the best possible method. This type of usability testing can go deeper into the minds of your target audience and elicit more helpful information about their expectations. The entire team can also view a live session while it is being done and provide rapid input on the outcomes. With an average of 3-5 participants, it takes roughly an hour or two.

Card sorting

Card sorting is a testing method that allows participants to demonstrate how they envision your website’s layout and navigation. A company may opt for an open card sort, in which they begin by creating cards with themes. 

Card sorting is a great way to prioritize material and functions. The method is straightforward: simply write down concepts (content, characteristics) on cards and allow test participants to sort them into groups and categories. A moderator would then ask test participants to explain their reasoning as soon as they finish sorting the cards to understand better.

This method can help you figure out if your layout or navigational structure corresponds to how your users think. It enables you to comprehend how your clients might categorize certain types of products or services. Would these categories then assist them in swiftly locating what they’re looking for?

With 30 or so cards and 15 participants, you will need approximately 20 minutes to complete this test. 

 

Lab usability testing

When you require in-depth information on how real users interact with your product and what challenges they encounter, lab usability testing is the best option. It will assist you in determining the reasons behind user behavior. Because this assessment is moderated rather than unmoderated, you can collect more qualitative data.

A skilled moderator and a testing location are required for lab usability testing. A moderator should always be available to assist test takers in understanding the goal of the test and to keep them on course if they become disoriented. They should be able to read people’s body language. It’s important to remember that what test participants say isn’t always what they think.

This form of testing necessitates the use of an after-testing interview. After the testing session, the moderators contact the test participants and ask them a few key questions. Lab testing, like moderated tests, is useful if your company wishes to collect feedback on a product or service early in the development process. A lab test could also be used to create suggestions for resolving client problems.

A/B testing

This approach of UX usability testing involves comparing two versions of an app or website to see which one works better. After that, you must conduct a statistical analysis to decide which version is more effective.

Do you want to improve your website’s conversion rate so that more visitors become customers? Make tiny changes to your website, such as modifying your call to action buttons, to see how you can get a better ROI (return on investment) from your existing traffic. A/B testing can help you figure out how to achieve a better ROI (return on investment) from your existing traffic.

You can conduct A/B testing for a minimum of seven days. If you haven’t been able to conclude with proper statistical data that is helpful, test for seven more days. 

Tree testing

Tree testing, also known as reverse card sorting or a closed card sort, asks participants to categorize things or cards into categories that already exist. Participants will explain why they placed a card in a relevant group, much as they did with card sorting.

It can assess how realistic a navigational layout is in terms of assisting customers in finding what they are looking for. To use the best menu categories or labels, apply this study methodology before building a navigational structure or page layout.

5-second test

This sort of qualitative research allows a company to gather a significant amount of qualitative data on a user’s first impressions and reactions to design. Use five-second testing to see if a website, app, prototype, or wireframe can swiftly communicate a message to a target audience.

Run this test before releasing a product to ensure that it is designed with the target user in mind. You might also perform an A/B test on multiple iterations of a design before attempting it.

Eye-tracking

An eye-tracking website usability assessment method uses a pupil tracking device to track a user’s eye movement. It creates computer heatmaps or pathway diagrams to analyze where a user clicks or hovers when asked to perform a task. In this method, a company may figure out which parts of a website are the most effective at grabbing a user’s attention.

Such a testing method is used when brands need to determine how their participants are likely to react to the company’s website. With an average of 40 participants, this kind of testing takes a minimum of 20 minutes.

Session recording

Session recording is a technique for capturing the actions of real (but anonymous) people while interacting with a website. Session recording data aids in determining what content/features users find most appealing (through heatmap analysis) as well as what interaction issues users encounter while interacting with your product.

When used in conjunction with another method of usability testing, session recording yields the best results. You can create a hypothesis about what problems users are having by studying session recording results, but you’ll almost always need to do more testing to figure out why they’re having this problem.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect usability testing method for your product can be quite a task as there are multiple options available. But there’s no need to fret; this is a challenge that every UX expert tackles on a daily basis. It’s critical to pick an approach that you believe will work best for your project. However, to get the most valuable results, you must be willing to change if the need ever arises. Usability testing is one of the most pivotal aspects of a product’s journey so ensure to do it well.

 


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