Usability Testing: Will your product pass?

Posted · 30 Comments

“Humans are so overwhelmed with technology, that usability and the entire user experience is essential to keep a product afloat.”

Usability is an attribute associated with products that tells us how easy it is for someone to use. Therefore, a user problem is a barrier that a person encounters when using a product. These problems are typically discovered and categorized in usability testing. Usability testing can save a good idea from failing in app form, such as the social media app, Forecast. Usability testing can find areas to improve, areas of greatest frustration or value, and validate your product.

How does usability testing work? Typically, you want at least 5 participants. Less participants can mean fewer discovered issues and a skewed perspective of what takes priority. Too many participants could be costly. Research indicates that 5 participants can typically reveal up to 85% of problems, and will most definitely reveal the highest priority issues.

Effective usability testing tells us what problems a user encounters, but also whether that problem is a game-changer or a small cosmetic issue.

Essentially, if the user is unable to complete a task, this problem is critical and must be fixed right away.

There are a lot of problems that might just delay a user from completing a task, so how do we prioritize these problems? The first thing we need to do is compile a list that lists all the problems found, which also means consolidating the problems that are essentially the same, but worded differently by evaluators as they interpret testing sessions.

Fixing usability problems may involve a complete overhaul of the system, which can get expensive. Therefore, it is important to determine which problems are the most important to fix right away. Be careful to understand that cosmetic errors may rank low priority, but an abundance of them will seriously impact your product’s credibility.

In order to do this, one could look at just the time delay: a few seconds to a few milliseconds. A user might notice a spelling error but it does not necessarily delay them for more than a fraction of a second. However, if they cannot find a search tool, this might delay them longer, which would be a high priority usability problem.

There is another layer of complexity here: what is the actual task being required of the user. If this task involves safety in any way, the outcome of the task should also be a factor in priority.

A few seconds could mean a lot more when designing an emergency system on University campuses, for instance.

This can be measured by looking at overall errors in usability testing. A user may have completed a task, but what % of them did so incorrectly?

We should not accept that these errors are just “human errors” because a user experience expert is able to predict these instances and put systems into place to prevent user error.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 6.14.31 PM

For instance, gmail reminds you to attach a document if you say “attached” anywhere in your email. This has saved me on many occasions. They accounted for the possibility of user error and put an extra safeguard into place.

So when evaluators are taking this master list of problems and rating them on priority, they should be looking at some of the complexities involved in the decision. Delays, errors, credibility of the product. One evaluator will not always be reliable in their prioritization because of subjectivity. Therefore, priority scores should be averaged from at least 3 evaluators.

Usability testing is a process that can result in extra cost and time to fix problems. However, without it, you may release a product to market that will fail. Humans are so overwhelmed with technology, that usability and the entire user experience is essential to keep a product afloat.

Once a product fails, users can be very unforgiving, and that company may not ever be able to bounce back from a product launch failure.

It is worth the time and investment to ensure that a product provides a good user experience so that product will have longevity in the market.

Please see links below for more information:

Nielson, J. (n.d.). Severity Ratings for Usability Problems. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from Useit.com: http://www.useit.com/papers/heuristic/severityrating.html

Travis, D. (2009). How to prioritize usability problems. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from Userfocus.com: http://www.userfocus.co.uk/articles/prioritise.html

Nielson, J. (2012). Usability 101: Introduction to usability. Retrieved February 2, 2015, from nn.com: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/

Nielsen, J., & Landauer, T. K. (1993, May). A mathematical model of the finding of usability problems. In Proceedings of the INTERACT’93 and CHI’93 conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 206-213). ACM.

Keenan, S. L., Hartson, H. R., Kafura, D. G., Schulman, R. S. (1999). The ssability problem taxonomy: A framework for classification and analysis. Empirical Software Engineering, 4, 71-104.

Skov, M. B., & Stage, J. (2005, November). Supporting problem identification in usability evaluations. In Proceedings of the 17th Australia conference on Computer-Human Interaction: Citizens Online: Considerations for Today and the Future (pp. 1-9). Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group (CHISIG) of Australia.

Lavery, D. Cockton, G. and Atkinson, M.P. (1997) Comparison of Evaluation Methods Using Structured Usability Problem Reports. Behaviour and Information Technology, 16(4), 246-266.

Ehmke, C., & Wilson, S. (2007, September). Identifying web usability problems from eye-tracking data. In Proceedings of the 21st British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: HCI… but not as we know it, 1, 119-128.

Sim, G., & Read, J. C. (2010, September). The damage index: an aggregation tool for usability problem prioritisation. In Proceedings of the 24th BCS Interaction Specialist Group Conference (pp. 54-61). British Computer Society.

30 Responses to "Usability Testing: Will your product pass?"
  1. samochody says:

    Doskonała robota, którą wykonałeś, ta strona internetowa jest naprawdę fajna i zawiera fantastyczne informacje.

  2. I’d always want to be update on new blog posts on this site, saved to bookmarks!

  3. I am also commenting to let you know of the helpful encounter my friend’s daughter found reading through your web page. She figured out numerous issues, not to mention what it’s like to have an amazing giving mood to have most people really easily know selected impossible subject areas. You really exceeded our own expectations. Many thanks for imparting the interesting, safe, explanatory and even easy thoughts on the topic to Gloria.

  4. buy viagra says:

    I wanted to put you the very little remark to be able to thank you the moment again over the remarkable tactics you have provided on this page. This has been simply surprisingly open-handed with you to offer unhampered precisely what most of us would’ve offered for sale for an ebook to help make some money on their own, particularly seeing that you might have tried it in case you desired. Those suggestions in addition worked to become good way to realize that some people have the identical keenness really like my personal own to realize significantly more when it comes to this matter. I believe there are several more pleasant sessions up front for people who scan your site.

  5. I am only writing to make you understand what a remarkable experience our princess undergone viewing your webblog. She picked up such a lot of things, with the inclusion of what it is like to possess an ideal teaching spirit to make the mediocre ones without difficulty master specified tortuous topics. You undoubtedly surpassed readers’ expected results. Thanks for rendering those useful, trustworthy, revealing as well as unique tips on your topic to Sandra.

  6. I wanted to post you that tiny remark to say thanks a lot over again on the pleasant solutions you have featured in this case. It was really shockingly open-handed with you to grant publicly just what many of us might have offered for an ebook to get some dough for themselves, mostly now that you might have tried it in case you desired. These smart ideas as well served to be the good way to fully grasp that other people online have the identical interest much like my personal own to learn more related to this matter. I am sure there are numerous more pleasant periods in the future for many who read your site.

  7. Thank you for every one of your hard work on this web page. My daughter really loves making time for investigations and it’s really obvious why. Most people learn all of the lively mode you offer priceless tactics through this web site and even inspire participation from some other people on the matter so our favorite girl is now starting to learn a lot of things. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are always doing a remarkable job.

  8. cheap viagra says:

    I enjoy you because of all of your effort on this blog. Ellie enjoys doing internet research and it’s easy to see why. All of us hear all about the compelling manner you create functional ideas by means of the blog and as well cause contribution from other ones about this article and my child is being taught a great deal. Enjoy the remaining portion of the new year. You’re the one carrying out a fantastic job.

  9. I needed to post you that little bit of observation to say thanks once again for your personal marvelous principles you’ve featured in this article. It has been certainly pretty generous of people like you to convey freely exactly what a number of people could possibly have made available as an e book to earn some cash for their own end, even more so considering the fact that you could possibly have done it if you ever decided. The ideas also acted like a fantastic way to comprehend other individuals have similar dreams like my own to grasp good deal more in terms of this issue. I’m sure there are many more fun occasions ahead for individuals that go through your blog post.

  10. cialis buy says:

    I am just writing to make you understand what a outstanding experience my wife’s girl obtained using your webblog. She noticed so many pieces, which included what it is like to possess an excellent helping spirit to let other people with no trouble learn specific specialized things. You truly surpassed readers’ expected results. Thank you for providing these priceless, trusted, informative as well as fun tips about this topic to Lizeth.

  11. propecia buy says:

    I’m just commenting to let you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery my cousin’s daughter enjoyed going through your blog. She discovered lots of issues, most notably how it is like to have a very effective giving heart to have many others effortlessly gain knowledge of certain extremely tough matters. You really did more than my desires. Many thanks for displaying the helpful, healthy, educational and also easy thoughts on the topic to Gloria.

  12. I am just writing to make you understand what a notable experience my wife’s girl had using your web site. She mastered so many pieces, which included what it is like to possess an excellent helping nature to let other people with ease learn some problematic things. You truly surpassed people’s expected results. Thank you for producing these precious, trusted, informative and in addition fun tips about this topic to Lizeth.

  13. luvox price says:

    I am commenting to let you know of the fine encounter my friend’s daughter found reading your site. She figured out many issues, not to mention what it’s like to have a wonderful giving mindset to have men and women quite simply have an understanding of selected hard to do subject areas. You really exceeded our expectations. Many thanks for giving the insightful, safe, explanatory and as well as easy thoughts on the topic to Jane.

  14. I am also commenting to let you know of the helpful encounter my friend’s daughter found reading through your web page. She figured out numerous issues, not to mention what it’s like to have an amazing giving mood to have most people really easily know selected impossible subject areas. You really exceeded our own expectations. Many thanks for imparting the invaluable, safe, explanatory and even easy thoughts on the topic to Janet.

  15. My spouse and i got quite glad that Ervin could deal with his investigations through the ideas he got out of the web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just continually be giving freely key points that many other people have been selling. And we also fully grasp we have got the website owner to be grateful to for that. The entire explanations you have made, the simple site menu, the friendships you can help foster – it’s got many great, and it’s really helping our son and the family imagine that the issue is entertaining, and that is particularly indispensable. Thank you for everything!

  16. wellbutrin says:

    I’m just commenting to let you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery my cousin’s daughter enjoyed going through your site. She discovered lots of issues, most notably how it is like to have a very effective giving mindset to have many others just gain knowledge of certain extremely tough matters. You really did more than our desires. Many thanks for distributing the important, healthy, educational and as well as easy thoughts on the topic to Gloria.

  17. Thanks for your whole work on this website. My niece takes pleasure in working on research and it is simple to grasp why. We all notice all relating to the powerful ways you render worthwhile tricks via your website and therefore welcome response from website visitors on this topic while our own simple princess is without question understanding so much. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. Your performing a wonderful job.

  18. I’m also commenting to let you be aware of of the excellent discovery my cousin’s child enjoyed checking your blog. She discovered a wide variety of details, most notably how it is like to have a marvelous coaching heart to get many more easily fully understand certain complicated matters. You actually did more than my desires. I appreciate you for delivering such great, healthy, educational and also cool guidance on that topic to Evelyn.

  19. wellbutrin says:

    I’m just commenting to let you be aware of of the extraordinary discovery my cousin’s daughter experienced going through your site. She even learned lots of issues, most notably how it is like to have a very effective giving mindset to have many others just gain knowledge of chosen extremely tough matters. You really did more than our desires. Many thanks for distributing the important, healthy, educational and as well as easy thoughts on the topic to Gloria.

  20. My spouse and i felt now fulfilled that Ervin could deal with his investigations out of the ideas he got out of the web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just choose to be giving freely instructions that many some others might have been trying to sell. We recognize we need you to thank for this. The type of illustrations you made, the straightforward website navigation, the relationships your site make it easier to instill – it is most sensational, and it is letting our son in addition to us reckon that this subject matter is interesting, which is certainly tremendously serious. Thanks for the whole lot!

  21. I am glad for writing to make you know what a incredible encounter my friend’s girl gained studying your web page. She learned plenty of pieces, which include what it’s like to possess an awesome helping mood to let other folks smoothly know just exactly several multifaceted subject matter. You truly exceeded our own expectations. Thank you for offering these necessary, safe, explanatory and even fun tips about this topic to Julie.

  22. doxepin cost says:

    I simply wished to thank you very much yet again. I do not know what I would have worked on without those ways shown by you relating to this topic. This was the troublesome situation in my view, nevertheless witnessing your well-written way you treated the issue took me to weep with joy. Now i am thankful for your work as well as wish you recognize what an amazing job your are undertaking training the rest with the aid of your websites. Probably you haven’t met any of us.

  23. I am only writing to make you understand what a remarkable experience our princess undergone viewing your webblog. She picked up some things, which included what it is like to possess an ideal teaching spirit to make the mediocre ones without difficulty master specified tortuous things. You undoubtedly surpassed readers’ expected results. Thanks for rendering those useful, trustworthy, revealing as well as unique tips on your topic to Mary.

  24. Thanks for the tips about credit repair on this blog. Things i would advice people would be to give up the actual mentality that they’ll buy right now and pay out later. As a society all of us tend to do that for many things. This includes holidays, furniture, as well as items we would like. However, you have to separate your own wants from all the needs. When you are working to improve your credit rating score you have to make some sacrifices. For example you are able to shop online to save money or you can turn to second hand shops instead of costly department stores with regard to clothing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *