Example: Guerilla usability testing

Usability testing at  a cafe

Boris Masis, Google Developer Relations Program Manager gave a ”show and tell” about “Guerilla Testing with Usability Cafe,”  an example that shows that user testing does not have to be a time consuming activity. And you will save time in you project by performing usability testing, and as I said in my last post, the earlier you do the usability test, the better (click here to read the whole post).

He mention in the clip below that it’s important to offer the test persons a small treat.

An interesting take away from this video is that you can find up to 85 percent of usability problems by observing five  people who use an app. It might not work the same way with a more complicated systems.  What do you think? If it is a system that performs a lot of different tasks, I think it could take more than five people to test it and more time, but when it comes to an app, I think this is fun to watch and that its a good point.
Enjoy some usability testing out in the wild 🙂


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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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