The usability testing process involves watching and tracking an actual user while they use the product to see if it’s in fact usable. Usability testing is the best way to understand how real users experience your app. It’s also flexible for collecting a range of information about users, and is a cornerstone of UX practice.
When it comes to usability testing, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether someone should moderate the session.
Types of user testing methods
Moderated usability testing is practiced by professionals looking to obtain feedback from live users. During a moderated test, moderators are ‘live’ with test participants (either in person or remotely), facilitating them through tasks, answering their questions, and replying to their feedback in real time. Live communication with test participants is a strength of this type of testing, because nothing beats watching participants in real time, and being able to ask probing questions about what they are doing.
Unmoderated remote usability testing, as the name implies, occurs remotely without a moderator. It offers quick, robust, and inexpensive user testing results. This method is usually based on the use of usability testing tools that automatically gather participant feedback and record their behavior.
Focus groups can be a powerful tool in system development. This technique can help you assess user needs and feelings both before a product’s design and long after its release. In website or mobile app development, the proper role of focus groups isn’t to assess design usability, but to discover what users want from a product—their personal thoughts and preferences.
Beta testing allows you to roll out a near-complete product to individuals who are happy to try it and provide critical feedback. This testing method allows you to ask users questions after they have the new product, track their usage and have them file bug reports.
An A/B test is ideal as the appropriate testing method when designers are struggling to choose between two competing elements. This testing method consists of showing one of two versions randomly to an equal number of users, and then reviewing analytics on which version accomplished a specific goal more effectively.
Questionnaires and surveys are an easy way to gather a large amount of information about users, with minimal time invested. A researcher can create a survey using tools like Wufoo, SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, send it out, and receive hundreds of responses in just minutes. The right questions can uncover customer needs, desires, and pains.
Continue to the Implement section to learn more about the Design Thinking process.