Abstraction: working, pay attention to their needs and

Abstraction:

Usability testing is the
characteristic of a product that describes its ease of use. This document
represents how to conduct usability testing. Basically in process of usability
testing develop test plan that describes product required resources, set up
test environment, select appropriate participant for performing the usability
testing. Prepare test material that is used for collecting data, communicate
with participant, legal requirement specification. After completed basic work
in usability testing conduct test session that include checklist for checking
the usability testing session than after that analyze data and prepare final
report. Recommendations involved in report and it is not necessary that all
recommendations are implemented so put high priority first.

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Introduction:

During product
development we see potential users of our product means
to check the user working, pay attention to their needs and see what
works well (what might make experience work good). Usability testing is
productive and can be simple as pay attention to people. It basically
identifies the area where people work with product. Its main purpose is to
make design better and getting better understanding of user interaction with
product. It can give us objective performance data such as
time on function, bug rates and function prosperity. Meet with the development
members to map out aims for the product and talk about what sectors of product
you will assess. To gain the information about your test you ask for feedback
on product explanation, participants desired excellence, goals for test, timeline
for test( when product ready for test, when team argue about the outcomes). We
can test product at many stages of development. If a proper methodology used
then get good results of usability testing. How to conduct usability testing is
not difficult it’s a process that includes some steps and by following these
steps you can get suitable results of usability testing. The process starts by
making test plan and setting test environment. You should hire team for
usability test or do it by yourself. Prepare test material for collecting data
and scheduled test sessions. After every session collect and analyze data,
prepare report and if there are recommendations link report to the
recommendation and put high priority first for recommendation. Then you will be
aware of most serious issue in product/website/app and try to sort out these
issues.

Process of conducting usability test:

It can be easy to receive
bad/ worse usability testing results if proper methodology not used. The
process of conducting usability testing involves following

Develop test plan

Setup testing
environment

Find and select
participant

Prepare test material

Conduct test session

Analyze data and
observation

Report finding and
recommendations

Test plan:

It prove how
when where why who what of your usability test. In simple words, we need test
plan to keep you organized. In test plan we keep record of steps that
you carry out, how we do testing, what matrices capture,
some participant, what testing situation will use. It’s necessary to
develop test plan because it explain how we will testing the product, it’s like
an interface between designer and developer, test moderator and development
team. Most projects are dynamic and many times the people say that the main
agenda was not pointed so for this inconvenience test plan used for getting
feedback from other members. It describes the product required resources.
Different parts of test plan include test goals, research questions,
participant qualities, test design, task list, testing environment, test
moderator, report, session information, background information and conclusion.
Test goals basically research questions. Session information is a list that
includes session time and participant. To find the aims of
participant we use background information and ask question to
participant at the end.

Setup testing environment:

The place where
test is conducted is basically testing environment.
Determine suitable place of usability testing by keeping in mind
about test design and measures, logistics, public relationship with company,
participant availability. Many time tests conducted at multiple places, but its
fine if you only test local. Testing also conducted on user workplace but for
this get permission from management. Testing is also conducting
at test lab.

Find and select participants:

Depending on the goal of
the product development, select right participant. We can find participant by
meeting up web design/front end programmer, recruit through social
networking sites (linked in, twitter, Facebook), consider friend, family
and colleagues, user groups, clubs, societies and associations. A
criterion for participant includes age, employment status (part-time, full-time)
highest level of education, drupal experience (beginner, intermediate
level, experience) role (website developer, content writer, themer). The above
characteristic depends on product ad task that participant do. When
determine user profile keep in mind that is the user purchaser, buyer, and
end-user. After getting information from various parts of your company/project
then interpret that information to develop requirements for usability testing.
The user profile describe skills, behavior, experience that make up
target end-user. Divide the user profile in distinct categories. Write
screening questionnaire which means for qualifying and selecting participants to take
part in the test. It depends on background of participants of the product.
To develop screen questionnaire use step of review profile of participant,
identify choice criteria, prepare screening questionnaire, organize
question in specific order, develop format, test questionnaire and review
it, also create answer sheets. Select participant through interview and
screening questionnaire. After selection confirms participant to work
on product. Most important thing is to keep the personal private information of
participant safe.

Prepare test material:

More labor intensive
activity in usability testing is test material preparation. Test
material will be used for data collection, communicate with
participant, legal requirement satisfaction. The test material
involves script orientation, background questionnaire, data collection
instruments, recording consent form, pre test questionnaire, task scenario,
script orientation figure during test session what will happen, in
participant mind-set tone for that session. During script orientation
keep speech short, keep tone professional. The background questionnaire helps
in understanding the behavior of participants during test.
Background questionnaire includes participant attitude, experience
and preference in all area that affects performance. We will record data by
different data collection tools/methods. First state simply and
gather some information for each participant such as each task was
completed? Whether assistance required, major obstacle with each task, time
required for task completion. When type of data cleared then choose
which method used for collecting data (online data collection, user
generate data collection, any other data collection). Gather data
from participants then few forms might consider that are nondisclosure, consent
form, recording permission. Nondisclosure form required for external
market place product. Recording permission means get written
permission from participant to record them during usability test. If you work
for public institution then ask participant to sign consent form. To address
particular test objective use pre test questionnaire. It proves first
impression and attitude of participant such as does product look easy
to use? Does a terminology understand? Is product different/ similar form other
products? Through this it’s easy to understand the participant feeling before
usage occurs. It also discovers the opinion of participant about
value of product (priority of using it). To represent actual work used
task scenarios. Task scenario represent real work that participant
would do using product. Task scenario determines the result
that achieved by participant, motives for performing
task, actual data, when task start the state of system, during test
performing the printouts and displays that participant will see. For developing
test scenario follow these guidelines

Use actual study,
customer phone calls, task analysis, customer visits. Test results getting more
reliable when scenario represents reality.

Sequencing task scenario
in order

Avoid words that include
menu items, screen titles, actual button name

If there are participant
of different experience level then make sure the degree of difficulty of
scenario is balanced with experience level.

In each scenario try to
spend enough amount of work. After developing task scenario
distribute them and letting participant to read.

Conduct test session:

After completed basic
work and preparation for usability testing begin actual testing.
Before starting actual process of testing first check basic of
moderating testing that include key points on participant assistant,
implementing think aloud technique and general recommendation on how to work
with participant. Present the product neutrally, never show through your speech
that you disapprove/approve any action came from participant, never make
participant feel inadequate by your response. Encourage participant to focus on
their own work not looking other participants work. Make special
effort on your voice use moderate pitch not loud pitch. If you are testing more
than one participant then treat each participant as an individual because
each participant demonstrates valuable opportunity for your product.
Think aloud technique capture what participant thinking while working, interact
with participant appropriately. After reviewing basics of moderating begin
actual process of testing. After all preparation work accomplishment start
actual test by making checklist.

 First checklist is
a week or so before test: take the test yourself, conduct pilot test, revise
product, check test environment

Second checklist is one
day before test: check video equipment is ready, check status of participant,
check software/hardware/product is working, and double-check testing
equipment

Third checklist is the
day of test: scan checklist, prepare yourself, greet participant, have
participant fill out questionnaire, start recording, establish prototype for
observer, provide prerequisite training, read written task scenario, debrief
participant, close the session, organize data collection, debrief with
observer. Debriefing determine participant actions. When questioning the
participant never make them feel defending about their actions, also not react
on their answers. 

 

 

Analyze data and
observation:                         

Finally you have
completed the testing now interchange data into recommendation for
improvements. Data analysis falls into two categories that are
preliminary and comprehensive analysis. In comprehensive analysis the
deliverable is last and exhaustive report. This analysis
takes place during two to four weeks period after test. It involves
preliminary report finding and all other findings that were not previously
covered. In preliminary analysis quickly find out worst problem so that
designer immediately works on it without waiting for final test report. Its
deliverable is either small written report. There are following steps involved
in preliminary analysis compile summarize and analyze data. In compiling all
data place into a form that allows seeing pattern, it’s a checkpoint to see
whether you collect correct data after completing the session. You have
the various types of data at the hand then organize that data. After
compilation completed then transfer information from data collection sheets to
summarize sheets. After summarizing analyze data find tasks that did
not meet success criteria also find user errors and difficulties.

Report finding and recommendations:

Finding is basically the
observation. Write out the finding, expand the discussion of each
finding, determine global finding, sort out finding (task, research question,
product section, how team organized). PowerPoint presentation can
be suitable to document your findings or in or academic environment use
formal document report. After presenting findings link them to recommendation
on how modified results. Recommendation is basically the talking point on what
need to be modified for making/ to make the product usable. All recommendations may
not be able to carry out, so put high priority first then try
to carry out medium level and so on. In recommendation focus on
solutions that will have good impact, ignore political considerations, cover
all issues thoroughly also talk about where team should do further research. Report
is basically writing of what you have done. The report should
be outlined, determine/ describe the background summary on why
testing was needed, determine methodology, using charts
and tables to highlight testing session, participant task
overview, matrices collected. Report positive finding highlight any
opportunity for improvement.

How to conduct your own website:

May be company does not
have budget for hiring usability testing so it’s not difficult to conduct
usability testing by yourself. All you need is usability plan, set action plan
to modify website based on your observation. First you should consult with
development team, management, people who gave you website content. If development
team is responsible for content then it’s very easy to get proper plan. Basically
what you are going to complete, what testing situation you will use, number of
participants is recorded in test plan. Then that plan gets passed out around
the management or rest of them. Once final plan is agreed upon then written
plan is completed to return final decision. After plan approval it’s time to
implement that plan. Make sure about equipment, test participants, locations and
test scenario. Assign task and scenario to each participant. Explain testing
ends upon completion and allow suitable time for task completion. After task
completion collected test metrics, ask questions, allow participant to offer improvement,
comment likes and dislikes. After that compile data that you have collect and
prepare report. The report should be outlined and should begin with why testing
was needed, then move to methodology, participants, overview of task. Show the
result of data and link final report to recommendations on how website need to
be modified.

Conclusion:

During product/website/app
development we can observe working of users. Usability testing is used to
getting better understanding of user interaction with product.

 

Testing start by setting
the goals that should be accomplished by the user during testing. These goals
should be particular, should say what user should do. Next we should find the
team or do it by own self. Depending on environment and collected data describe
whether test session will be held. Collect data after every session, all data
has been analyzed and we should have clear picture of what are most striking
issue in product/website/app.

References:

Usability testing and
research by carol barum, longman(2002)

A particular guide of usability
testing by joe Dumas and gimy redish(2nd edition)

How to plan design and
conduct effective test by jeff rubin, dand chisnell(2nd edition)

Usability test plan by Andrew
dubois, Karen Purcell and Monique Horton

Software usability testing with morae

Usability testing  by
shneiderman

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