How Large Is the Evaluator Effect in Usability Testing

Usability Testing

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Uncovering usability problems is at the heart of usability testing. Problems and insights can be uncovered from observing participants live in a usability lab, using heuristic evaluations, or watching videos of participants. But if you change the person looking for the problems (the evaluator), do you get a different set of problems? The Evaluator Effect It’s been 20 years since two influential papers (Jacobsen, Hertzum,

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Finding and fixing problems encountered by participants through usability testing generally leads to a better user experience. But not all participants are created equal. One of the major differentiating characteristics is prior experience. People with more experience tend to perform more tasks successfully, more quickly and generally have a more positive attitude about the experience than inexperienced people. But does testing with experienced users lead to uncovering

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While UX research may be a priority for you, it probably isn’t for your participants. And participants are a pretty important ingredient in usability testing. If people were predictable, reliable, and always did what they said, few of us would make a living in improving the user experience! Unfortunately, people don’t always show up when they say they will for your usability test, in-depth interview,

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Many researchers are familiar with the Hawthorne Effect in which people act differently when observed. It was named when researchers found workers at the Hawthorne Works factory performed better not because of increased lighting but because they were being watched. This observer effect happens not only with people but also with particles. In physics, the mere act of observing a phenomenon (like subatomic particle movement)

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Facilitating a usability test is a skill. With enough of the right practice you’ll get better at facilitating and running more effective usability test sessions. A solid foundation in both the theory and practical applications of facilitating a usability test will aid you in becoming a solid facilitator. To help, here are ten resources for both beginners and intermediate usability test facilitators. 1. Read about

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One of the fundamental principles behind usability testing is to let the participants actually use the software, app, or website and see what problems might emerge. By simulating use and not interrupting participants, you can detect and fix problems before users encounter them, get frustrated, and stop using and recommending your product. So while there’s good reason to shut up and watch users, should a

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The fundamental idea behind usability testing is that the interface creator is not the user. We can broaden the idea of an interface to encompass more than websites and software as Don Norman famously illustrated in his book The Design of Everyday Things. An interface is the point where people and systems interact. An interface can be words, images, light switches, door handles,  or complex

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Content is king. Whether it’s for books, movies, audio books, news sites, or entertainment websites. When you have good content people will come and stay. But if people can’t find the content or there’s too much friction in the experience you’ll likely lose your audience even with killer content. An increasing number of consumers now subscribe to a premium content service like Netflix, Hulu, or

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Facilitation is a valuable skill for measuring the user experience. A good facilitator ensures sessions run smoothly, make participants comfortable, and extract the right data for even the most difficult scenarios, stakeholders, or participants. Joe Dumas and Beth Loring wrote a great guidebook that is an essential read for anyone interested in facilitating a usability session. Even though it's almost a decade old, it's still

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Having participants think aloud is a valuable tool used in UX research. It's primarily used to understand participants' mental processes, which can ultimately uncover problems with an interface. It has a rich history in the behavioral sciences that dates back over a century. Despite its value, it's not without its controversy. Some research has shown that depending on the activity, having participants think aloud can

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