Usability testing -an important part of the process

How to perform usability testing?

When you design a new website or a new system, the user should be “on your mind” all the time. You might ask: when is the right time to do a usability test? To get the best usability possible, it’s important to test as soon as possible. It’s much harder to make changes after a site or system is in use. You can perform simple tests early in the process, test on prototypes!

With a prototype, you can test navigation, placement, layout, clarity, feedback and so on, even if you haven’t started to code 🙂 I will write more about prototyping in a later post.

There are some important things to have in mind if you are going to do a usability test:

  1. Test with users! Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to take a member from the team. One “real” user is better than not testing at all. Testing on your team might be better than not testing, but they probably know a lot about the site/system and that knowledge influences their ability to discover usability issues.
  2. Create realistic tasks for the test. Let the user go through all or some of the tasks, depending of what you need to test.
  3. While the user is testing, sit beside him/her and observe what he/she does during the test. You will not remember it afterwards! Every detail is worth noting, if the user has problems finding a button or function, write it down!
  4. “Thinking aloud” means that the user speaks  their thoughts during the test. This gives even more information than “just” observing what he/she does.
  5. If the user permits it, the best way to take notes is to make a video recording of the test session. You can go back later, as many times as you like. This is a valuable source of information through the whole development process, not only during design.

In a real project, there might not be more then one test. Users have other things to do, of course. But make a plan about what you are going to test. Be sure to test the things you want to test 🙂

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Five important factors for better usability

The way to a great user experience is through a great usability. There are some things that are important for great usability.

The five factors listed in the infographic are important to create  great usability in a system or website. I will explain each of them more in-depth in the next five blog posts. Please feel free to leave your comments below. Do you find the five factors relevant for usability or not? Does it sound relevant for you?

Important factors for usibility

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How common is usability problems?

Usability problems, anyone?

This is my first post on this blog. I’d like to start by asking you a question…

Have you or someone you know had problems using a system, a web site, a mobile app or something similar? If you have, I’d be happy if you could share some of your experiences in the comments section below this post!

It would be a great start for this blog, which will offer you tips on better usability. It’s  important to set your requirements when ordering a new system or web site. It’s also important if you work for an IT-company (as I do, myself) to to look at the user’s end. It’s a great competitive advantage to offer your clients solutions for problems they need to solve in their everyday work.

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