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Whether you conduct your usability test by recruiting user testing participants for an app, site, or other product, usability testing before market launch is of great importance.
Many brands, both large and small have reported on the importance of usability testing and UX testing. It has been shown that it can help to take a business to new heights.
In fact, IBM estimates that every dollar spent in usability testing brings back between 10 to 100 dollars. A good example of the importance of usability testing is Amazon.
While they launch the portal, they spent 100 times more on usability testing than in marketing. Here is how to conduct usability testing.
Come Up with a Usability Testing Plan
Before you start the test, you need to develop the usability testing methodology. The plan you use must answer two crucial questions:
- What are you testing?
- How will you measure success?
Depending on your site, you may have to define usability testing purposes; they can be for specific purposes or open-ended purposes.
In an open-ended task, you simply have the users go through the app for a given period and familiarize themselves with it.
It works great when you are trying to work on common site problems, trying to identify which areas are most popular with site visitors, and conducting an exploratory study.
For specific tasks, you will let users know what they need to accomplish. For instance, it could entail asking them to go through the checkout process of your e-commerce site and give you feedback.
Such a specific test will usually check on a given functionality, when testing a complex product that needs to be tested in stages, and when trying to optimize conversion.
Test with the Staff
There are different types of usability testing and one of them will be staff-usability testing. You need to ensure that your staff members understand how to navigate the site with ease.
Otherwise, they cannot provide useful support to users when the need arises. It will not paint a good picture of your business if customers make a request and staff members seem incapable of resolving the issue.
Place Someone in Charge of User Testing
Before you start the tests, it is important to decide who is going to head the testing process. It could be a staff member or a third party agency with the right experience. You may also choose to break up the testing process.
This way, staff can handle some of the minor tasks while an external agency can handle the data-intensive part of the testing.
It will ensure that workers are not bogged down on this task, distracting them from other aspects of running the business.
If you opt to use a focus group, you can have both employees and the third party participate to balance the results.
Recruit the Right Participants for the Test
If you have a site and you wish to explore an issue, it is important to find the right participants for the study. To find the right people, you need to go about it methodically.
For instance, you can launch a small marketing campaign that targets the persona you are trying to reach with your site. Simply handing out flyers at the local store might not be the best way to go about it.
You might end up getting participants who have no plan to use your product in the future. Get people who will be impacted by your site and products at some point in the future.
Finding the right participants is a lengthy and time-consuming process. Refine the characteristics as much as you can and only settle on those you feel are right for your site.
To avoid any mishaps such as getting unusable data, hiring the service of a professional agency can make a huge difference. It will save you time and help you get the right data.
Conducting the Test
The test can take various formats. In one format, you can invite the test participants to your office and act as moderator during a timed session. You can then guide them on what actions they need to perform on your site.
If you opt for a time session, you should be aware of hindrances such as some of the participants arriving late and some not showing up.
Besides that, a technical hitch could cause the site not to work. It is thus important that you have contingencies for all eventualities that might arise.
Remote studies are another option. In an office setting, participants might not use the site as they would if they were at home. Thus, remote testing might prove quite beneficial.
In general, no matter the format you opt to use, be aware that there might be hindrances. Always have a plan in place on how to handle them.
Record the Test Results
During the testing period, you will collect a lot of information. It is important that you have a reliable method of collecting this data.
Do not rush the process if you want to avoid collecting data that might not be important to your success. You can collect the data in various formats:
- Clear audio recordings
- A spreadsheet with some notes
- Video recordings and screen grabs
- Surveys filled out by the participants
- Percentage calculations of the success rate
- Percentage calculations of the error rate
With all the data that you collect, comes the difficult task of analyzing all the data you collect. This can take the format of having discussions with staff. You may also invite third-party experts such as web developers to make sense of the data.
You can then come up with recommendations on what needs to be done. If the data was not conclusive, you can create another study that improves on any hitches you identified with the first study.
Fix the Errors and Test Again
After you find the errors in the site, you can now start addressing them to enhance the experience for users and workers. All the errors should be fixed by following the results of what you found through the study.
It should not be based on your personal opinions. It is usually best to come up with multiple fixes for each problem you identify.
This process entails working closely with developers and ensuring they understand what needs to be done in every problem area that you identify.
However, only focus on two or three fixes that will have the most impact. A solution that fixes multiple issues at once should be given priority.
Once you have fixed all the issues identified, it might be time to do some AB testing. It will help you identify which solutions the participants on your next study like the most. You can then go with it.
However, you must note that part of a good SEO strategy is continued testing. Thus, you will still need to continue conducting micro testing even after you identify all the pertinent issues and fix them.
Do not be afraid of testing your site before doing a full launch. The return on investment will be worth every penny that you spend. As with the real world, first impressions are quite important.
If a user has a bad experience the first time they try to use your site, it can be quite difficult to try to get them to change their mind in the future.