Usability Testing

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Observing just a few users interact with a product or website can tell you a wealth of information about what's working and not working. But to loosely quote Lord Kelvin, when we can measure something and express it in numbers, we understand and manage it better. Measuring usability allows us to better understand how changes in usability affect customer satisfaction and loyalty. Usability can and

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While we often talk about usability tests as if there is one type of usability test, the truth is there are several varieties of usability tests. Each type addresses different research goals. Don't confuse the five usability testing types with the interface type or the testing modes. Interface types are mobile (website or apps), desktop (software or website), or a physical device (like a thermostat).Testing

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Speeders are survey participants who finish too quickly, even impossibly quickly. How much do they affect the quality of online research? This question has increasing relevance as online research proliferates, including unmoderated usability studies, since an increasing amount of data comes from paid panel participants. With in-person studies, we see each participant's engagement level. With data collected remotely, we need another way to determine whether

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In the fast-paced world of Agile development, where it's difficult to find time to get data from users, unmoderated remote testing gives us a way to quickly collect feedback on interface design. For example, I recently worked with a web-app product team to determine whether users find their new file manager easier to use than the previous one. We started at 10 a.m., and wanted

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How are you reading this page? Are you at work? At home? Are you checking your phone or email as you read? Are you eating? Are pets or family members nearby? Although we rarely interact with websites or software in isolation, without distractions, for decades when we spoke of usability testing, we pictured a quiet room with a two-way mirror hiding the observers, who communicated

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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, product manager or single user researcher with too many priorities

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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, a number of variables make the setup more complicated than

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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 from both ease-of-use and technical perspectives." Emails like this are

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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 or not. Individuals and groups of colleagues around the US

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