10 Essentials of Measuring Usability

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

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How to Handle Multiple Comparisons

You go to your doctor for a checkup. You’re feeling fine but as a matter of procedure, your doctor orders a battery of tests and scans to be sure all is well. She runs 30 tests in total. A few days later she calls and tells you one of the tests came back positive–an indication

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5 Types of Usability Tests

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

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How Speeders Affect Online Research

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

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A 6-Hour Usability Test in an Agile Environment

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

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The New Face of Usability Testing

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

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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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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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