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The Marketing AIvolution Blog

Unlock business potential with research-driven insights

June 7th, 2021
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7 Usability Testing Secrets: Straight From The Experts

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User experience is the most crucial aspect that determines the success of any digital product or service for a business. 

A closer examination will reveal that all successful businesses emphasize quality products, products that provide the ultimate user experience to the customers. Companies from Apple to Tesla, Unicorns to stealth-mode startups, invest heavily in research for delivering the perfect user experiences.

It’s vital to gauge user experiences and get their timely feedback in order to provide the quality you promised. 

That is the sole purpose of usability testing- you let users try your digital product, such as websites and mobile apps, and learn from their experience. In addition to meeting customer needs, the product must be intuitive, presentable, and deliver an unforgettable user experience. 

There are many methods developed by UX researchers for testing a product hypothesis and design decisions. In this article, we will talk about usability testing and the seven usability testing secrets that will simply enhance the process. But before anything, we start with the basics!

What is Usability Testing?

Usability testing involves getting your website tested by real users. A team of researchers observes these users while they perform certain specific tasks given to them. The researchers will create a detailed report on the problems and confusion faced by the users while using the website. Based on the report, the problems related to the website will be solved by the experts. 

 Usability testing provides you with a detailed report about the functionality of your web design. Usability testing helps in understanding user behavior and needs. It helps in determining issues you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. 

Why Undertake Usability Testing On Your Website?

In order to get sufficient traffic on your website and to decrease the bounce rate to almost negligible, a user-friendly website is of utmost importance.  And the best way to achieve this is by conducting a usability test. However, there are also some other compelling reasons for usability testing. 

Saving time and money: Conducting usability testing on a prototype product beforehand helps you save a lot of time. It also gives you a basic idea of whether your product is feasible to launch or not

Actual Data to go on: 64% of the software features are rarely used. So, rather than playing a guessing game, it is better to build product features based on actual data

Ensuring product success: Testing your product before launching lets you identify any red flags or issues in advance. It allows you to assess whether the product is user-friendly or not. 

The Secret 7: Usability Testing tips from Experts

Creative about experts/ master brain/ super mind/ information

There are numerous methods by which usability testing can be conducted, but that does not guarantee conducive responses. To get meaningful results, you need to add a little bit of spice. Here are seven tried and tested usability testing secrets to assess the quality and UX of your site or product more effectively.

  1. Start with a general survey

Although you might have a specific aspect you want to assess, the basics should not be ignored. It might be tempting to dive right into task assignments but note that the data you get won’t be useful without proper context. So, start with a generic survey that includes questions like profession, browsing habits, etc., of the participant.

  1. Choose Tasks Wisely

The typical initial instinct when performing usability tests is to test everything at once. This might seem like the smart thing to do at first but is actually counter-productive. In order to increase the effectiveness of the usability test, the particular features that require feedback must be identified. Set goals accordingly while coordinating with the design team for quality results.

  1. Prioritize Tasks

When designing usability tests, most people tend to gloss over the human factor, and this oversight can prove to be costly. Tasks need to be presented to the users in an organized manner that reflects real-time behavior. For instance, repetition of similar tasks could contribute to a phenomenon called order bias which can skew results. Therefore, create a priority list prior to task assignment.

  1. Selecting the Right Participants

Choosing participants for the usability test is just as important as designing the test, if not more. Ensure that the participants mirror the characteristics of your target audience and build the panel such that it covers a diverse array of expertise. Failure to do so can severely affect your results and might even render them void!

  1. Host the right Environment

The primary aim of a usability test is to assess a potential user’s experience. In order for the results to be accurate, the test participants’ environment should mirror that of a real user from your product’s target audience. Therefore, ensure that the participants are in a relaxing environment free from any distractions.

  1. Monitor Expressions

The micro-expressions our face makes offer a wealth of information and are, therefore, invaluable feedback. Naturally, recording participants as they do the test can offer insights that are free of bias. Facial expression research has made momentous leaps of late, and a variety of options are available to help you interpret them easily.

  1. Account for Cultural Factors

As the world has embraced globalization with open arms, it can prompt those designing usability tests to overlook the importance of cultural factors that influence a user’s experience or decision making. If your product is aimed at a global audience, missing cultural cues can definitely land you in hot water. Account for these when designing usability tests to get more refined results.

Incorporate these seven adjustments into your Usability Test to up your game. Experts across the spectrum have employed these usability testing secrets and have proven to produce results that are simply miles above the usual. Now that you know the secrets, how about we delve a little deeper into the concepts of usability testing? We heard you, and here you go!

What are the Popular Usability Testing Methods

Usability testing is done in multiple ways. From heatmaps to eye-tracking, there are quite a few methods to get to the data you are looking for. Here are the seven most common usability testing methods that are in vogue in 2021.

Heatmaps – Digital Usability Testing

There is an active debate on whether Heatmaps is an effective usability testing method. Definitely a great tool for effectively gathering data right from where you are. Heatmaps are generated with the help of mouse tracking software. This software helps collect data about the user’s activities, where they scroll, how far, and what catches their attention. Heatmaps can be used to identify whether: 

  • Your content is inspirational enough to users. 
  • Your users follow the specific directions on your website. 
  • Your call for action is right. 

Using heat maps can help you improve the underperforming metrics like CTR, etc., and improve your sales as well.

Session Replays

Heatmaps are used to aggregate user behaviors. Session replays take this up a notch. Using session recordings and with the help of a mouse tracking tool, you can learn how the users generally interact with your website. Session replays emphasize the points and places on the website where most users wait a bit or hesitate to take further actions. 

For a better explanation, you can ask yourself questions like: 

Are my action calls clear enough? 

Is it obvious to users what I want them to do? 

How can I remove friction and hesitation from the users through messaging?

The Five-Second Test

It is a traditional controlled usability test. This is where you show the users a screenshot of your specific website page on the site for five seconds. But before showing them the screenshot, you usually ask a question. Afterward, you can also make sure you did not inadvertently condition them to look for a specific thing.

You will get the answer to questions like

What is grabbing the attention of the users? 

If it is not the element you intended, then why?  

How do pop-ups affect the user behavior on your website?

First – Click Testing

First-click testing helps you understand if your current users know what they are supposed to do on your website. It also shows you how effective and efficient your website design and architecture are. 

First–click testing involves:

Asking the users what it is, they would click to complete a specific task. 

Unmoderated testing where the users or participants are left on their own without any direction. 

First–click testing is done using real-world data. It can also be done outside the live environment. 

Eye – Tracking

While mouse tracking helps tremendously to get to know the users in terms of where they are looking and what they intend to read, it is not always the case that all users use a mouse pointer while reading. Many users may read a full page without actually touching the mouse. This is the case where eye-tracking comes to the rescue. 

It is an in-person test moderated test where the participant is brought into the test center. A computer is set up with an eye-tracking device installed which tells where the user is looking at. It is useful to track the important elements and to note any distractions on your site that may be hindering your site conversion. 

Guerrilla Testing

If you want to have usability testing done faster, then Guerrilla testing is the answer for you. The test has this name because the participants are chosen at random. For example, you might choose them at a coffee shop or ask people randomly. 

You just show them the website and gather their opinion. If some of them agree to a longer session, you may ask them questions and make them do certain tasks. Upon completion, collect results. 

While this is quick and cost-effective, it may not be effective if you develop a website for a certain target audience. 

Video Recording

Video recordings can also help gather a lot of useful information that can be used to fix the problem and can be saved for future references. Ask the users to use your app or spend some time on your website, set a time, and record them on video. The researchers will then analyze the recorded session to make a detailed report.  

While the test is a bit time-consuming, it is beneficial to collect data from different sources and then do analyses to lend more meaning to the data. So you know the secrets and the popular UX testing methods. What next? Well, some more questions with answers, of course!

Q1. What are the benefits of usability testing?

 

Usability testing helps you pinpoint the flaws and problems in the website that you may have otherwise missed. Usability testing can help you:

  • Validate the prototype
  • Easily identify issues with complexity
  • Catch major and minor errors
  • Provide a better user experience

 

Q2. What are the different types of usability tests?

 

The different types of usability tests are:

  1. Remote or in-person: Remote tests are conducted from a distance, either online or through a video recording. In-person tests require both the test moderator and participants to be present in-office or in testing labs.
  1. Moderated or Unmoderated: Moderated tests are when a professional test moderator is present and observes the participants from a distance. Unmoderated tests are done without any guidance from a professional.
  1. Scripted or unscripted: Scripted tests are predetermined tasks for the users to see their reactions and response to specific pages or elements of the website. Unscripted tests are done to observe the natural reactions and responses of the users without any direction. 
  1. Explorative, assessment, or comparative research: In explorative research, open-ended questions are asked to users, and their opinions are gathered. Assessment research evaluates the performance by testing the satisfaction of the users. Comparative research chooses different solutions, elements, or pages and compares them to the competitors. 

 

Q3. How do you assess website usability?

 

To evaluate your usability testing results, you need to:

Define what exactly you are looking for

Organize and group your data

Conclude based on quantitative and qualitative data metrics

Set priorities

Make a report of the findings

 

Q4. What is the Difference Between Usability Testing and A/B Testing?

 

Usability testing studies user behavior while A/B testing experiments and compares two or more pages/screens of a website and sees which one will convert better. 

Usability testing is used to find the specific reasons preventing users from having a great user experience. On the other hand, A/B testing compares pages to find which will convert better. 

 

Conclusion

 

The visitors of your website must get a smooth and efficient user experience. There are so many methods to achieve that, and the most important of them all is the usability testing method.  You must choose a method that gives you major output and is best suited for your website. 

However, you should be flexible enough to change it whenever the situation calls for it. Finally, the testing method you select must be in alignment with your resources and your overall objectives. Combine this with the usability testing secrets mentioned above, and you’re all set to conduct an impactful test. 


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