What To Do When You Can’t Run a Usability Test

In an ideal world, users would be involved in every stage of product development, including requirements gathering, iterative prototype testing and post release testing. However, there are a lot of reasons why testing with users doesn’t happen. Among the most common are: Time: Running moderated test sessions takes time to plan and conduct. A developer,

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5 Variables to Manage in a Comparative Usability Study

Which product is the most usable? One of the primary goals of a comparative study is to understand which product or website performs the best or worst on usability metrics such as completion rates or perceptions of usability. Comparisons can be made between competitive products or alternate design concepts. When conducting a comparative usability study,

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Retail Website Usability & Net Promoter Benchmarks

During the height of the 2013 Christmas shopping season we surveyed online shoppers for their attitudes about the user experience of 10 popular US retail websites. In conjunction with our panel partner, Op4G, we collected and analyzed the responses of 800 participants about factors such as usability, loyalty, trust and appearance using the Standardized User

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6 Differences Between B2B and B2C Usability

I received the following email last week about an upcoming change in the learning management system used at the university where I’m an adjunct professor: “Blackboard, has grown to become an essential tool for teaching since it was first adopted in 2000. Over the past few years, however, users have become increasingly dissatisfied with Blackboard

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What the NCAA Tournament & Usability Testing Have in Common

It’s that time of year again: March Madness. The Madness in March comes from the NCAA College basketball tournament, with unanticipated winners and losers with dozens of games packed into the final days of March. It’s also the time of year where a lot of people start working directly with probability, whether they know it

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Is Observing One User Worse Than Observing None?

Seeing is believing. Observing just a handful of users interact with a product can be more influential than reading pages of a professionally done report or polished presentation. But what if a stakeholder only has time to watch two or just one of the users in a usability study? Are there circumstances where watching some

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10 Things That Can Go Wrong in a Usability Test

A lot of planning goes into a usability test. Part of good planning means being prepared for the many things that can go wrong. Here are the ten most common problems we encounter in usability testing and some ideas for how to avoid or manage them when they inevitably occur. Users don’t show up :

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Measuring Usability Best Practices in 5 Words

While there are books written on measuring usability, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the details and intimidated by the thought of having to deal with numbers. If I had to use five words to describe some best practices and some core principles of measuring usability, here they are. 1. Multi-method There are

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10 Ways to Conduct Usability Tests with Credit Cards & Personal Data

A key principal of usability testing is that users should simulate actual usage as much as possible. That means using realistic tasks that represent users’ most common goals on the website or app they’ll be working with ‘out in the wild.’ Usability testing is inherently contrived but we still want to provide as realistic a

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5 Reasons You Should and Should Not Test With 5 Users

There are a lot of misconceptions about when it is and when it is not appropriate to test with five users. There’s no reason to take an extreme position on this issue and think it’s never acceptable or always the right number. Instead you should understand what you can and cannot learn from just a

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