Usability Testing

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Usability testing is artificial. We do the best we can to simulate a scenario that is as close to what users would actually do with the software while we observe or record them. However, no amount of realism in the tasks, data, software or environment can change the fact that the whole thing is contrived. This doesn't mean it's not worth doing. You still get

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Have you wanted to purchase something online, but couldn't? Were you willing to pay full price just to get a product but the experience got in the way? You're not alone. Just about every week we're running a usability test in our lab or remotely on an ecommerce website. We've watched thousands of users attempt tasks across dozes of websites, small and large. Most ecommerce

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Errors happen and unintended actions are inevitable. They are a common occurrence in usability tests and are the result of problems in an interface and imperfect human actions. It is valuable to have some idea about what these are, how frequently they occur, and how severe their impact is. First, what is an error? Slips and Mistakes: Two Types of Errors It can be helpful

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When it comes to testing websites there are many unmoderated and moderated solutions. But if you've ever tried to evaluate an app or website on a mobile phone or tablet there are fewer options. Usertesting.com offers a new mobile testing service which recruits users and records their mobile devices while they interact with your app or website. Tools like MUIQ and Loop11 also collect some

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Despite the rise in unmoderated usability testing, the bulk of evaluations are still done with a facilitator. Whether you are sitting next to the user in a lab or sharing screens with someone thousands of miles away, here are 20 practical tips for your next moderated usability test. Shut up and listen:  You need to talk to moderate a session but don't let the talking

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Many companies understand the importance of user centered design in theory. Few can track how money invested in improving the user experience translates into profitability. By quantifying design efforts and outcomes all organizations can benefit from understanding how improving the user experience can improve revenue. The Engine of Growth If you can imagine revenue being the final gear in a business machine designed to produce

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In a few seconds what can you tell about people… or websites? Some famous research has shown that student evaluations given after only a few seconds of video[pdf]are indistinguishable from evaluations from students who actually had the professor for an entire semester! There has been some relevant research on the importance of immediate website actions and impressions: Visual Appeal: Impressions of a homepage's visual appeal

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I write a lot about the importance of confidence intervals and making the most of small sample sizes. Recently, Dean Barker, director of UX at Sage CRM read one of the articles on margins of error and sample sizes and said: "I understand there is variability with small samples but I'm having a hard time reconciling the numbers with my experience."   Math Dean was

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Whether you're conducting an early stage test of a prototype or late validation, these five tips can make any usability test more credible. The tips both temper skepticism about small samples and help you avoid overstating your findings. Count the number of users that experience each problem. Early testing is all about finding and fixing usability problems. But make those problem lists even more helpful

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A user-interface problem is anything in the code or design that inhibits a user from completing an intended action. Usability testing is best done in the formative stages of development to find these UI problems and generate quantifiably better designs. Usability testing also has a summative role at the end of development as validation when bugs and functional gaps have been addressed.  Most UI problems

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