When was the last time you paid attention to usability testing in your website design process? If you haven’t then now might just be the time. But, since you are planning to move forward for an implementation, you will come across many individuals who will spread a number of rumors about usability testing. Well, I am here today to help you clear your mind about such myths permanently.
When it comes to usability testing, the first image that pops into your mind is of people running around labs in lab coats. Well, first of all, we aren’t testing microbiological elements, we are testing websites so no lab coats are involved. Secondly, you will think that performing usability testing can shave off a good amount from your pockets. In reality, it is neither time consuming nor expensive.
Today, I will help you crack some long-lasting myths that has surrounded usability testing for long. In my opinion, here are these important myths which I feel are important to crack.
Myth # 1: Usability Testing is Quite Expensive
Like I said, people always are under this misconception that usability testing is ALWAYS expensive. I do agree that it is expensive, but trust me, it doesn’t have to. In usability testing, you don’t have to test every aspect of your digital product. You can prioritize the ones which are important and test them first. You can test a handful number of design elements and features which are vital for your product. The rest you can test maybe after the launch once your business is flourishing up appropriately.
Myth # 2: It Fails to Help Users Identify Causes
If you are measuring quantifiable data, properly implemented usability metrics can help you identify causes. Data points are one of the best ways! Just place them properly on each step and then use them to gather information at different drop-offs along the way. There are several analytic tools now in the market which comes with plug-in metrics which makes the entire usability process quite easier. Another way to identify causes is to allow your website to generate error codes. In this way, you can pinpoint any technical issues and resolve user drop offs effectively and precisely.
Myth # 3: You Will Need a Lot of People for Usability Testing
Many people are under the impression that they will require a lot of candidates to help them with usability testing. This statement might be true if you are looking to perform a quantitative analysis. However, if you wish to perform a qualitative analysis, then quantity of candidates isn’t priority. You can get much better quality results with a few handful experts who are good at testing the product. Nielsen/Norman group performed a study how 85 of their usability tests became successful with just 5 participants helping them find the loopholes in their product.
Myth # 4: You Will Need to Setup a Usability Lab
If the first thing that comes to your mind with the term usability testing is setting up a usability lab, ditch that thought right away. You don’t have to setup a high-tech lab to perform usability testing. It may sound a noteworthy suggestion if you are conducting large scale evaluations. But, if you are just opting-in to sharpen up the experience of your digital product, all you need is a group of candidates. Set up a meeting room, set up laptops and let them test your product from different perspectives.
Myth # 5: It’s Important that You Test the Project at the End
Not really! It is not essential to test the project only after the digital product is completely designed. In fact, many organizations believe that identifying issues beforehand can be a much better option. Steve Krugs writes in his book, “Don’t make me think” that,
“Testing one user early in the project is better than testing 50 near the end”
Although, the idea of performing a test right after the project completes is a lucrative option, but what if there is a major problem? You can end up reverse engineering the entire digital product.
Hence, it is better that you break down the entire project in a number of sections. Then test each individual section separately and find potential loopholes to identify flaws for best results.
Myth # 6: You May Not have to Test an Existing Website
According to a web design agency,
“Even if you create an amazing website with a flawless design, you will still have to perform a number of usability tests constantly. It’s because the Internet world is continuously transforming and there are new technologies which are always changing the compatibilities. Hence, it is important that you keep on performing usability tests and make sure your design is working with the latest technology.”
If you want a prototype for your new website design, then nothing serves the purpose better than your old website design. It can help you identify the positives as well as the negatives which will in return help you build up a better user-experience for visitors. But how could you be possibly sure which changes are worth the attention and which of them are not. You can put both products to testing.
You never know which feature you may end up removing and in fact, that feature was one of the reasons why users loved your product! Surprisingly, you will discover something new and innovative.
In the End
Usability testing is a great method to identify what’s working for your business and what’s not. Only this time, it is not going to be you who will decide but the audience. Some businesses hire in-house resources to get this task done, but my recommendation is that you employ other individuals specifically from design firms. Their insights will hold more effective judgement and in return you can have a much better feedback. Some people send the new interactive design as a beta version to their existing customers and take the feedback from them first hand. In short, there are many ways.
I hope this article cleared up a lot of misconceptions on Usability testing. Until next time.