In an industry dedicated to creating a great experience for the people using their online products, services, and apps, usability testing is crucial. The main objective of usability testing is to inform and frame the design process from the point of view of the end user.
UX researchers have developed a number of techniques over the years for testing and validating product hypotheses and particular design decisions. The usability test methods range from well-known lab-based usability studies to recently developed cases.
In this article, we’ll explore the top three usability testing methods, along with when you should be using them, and why.
Things to do before conducting usability testing
Before choosing a particular testing method, you should have a clear understanding of your target audience, available resources (time and money), and research objectives. This information will not only help you choose the relevant test method but will also help you adjust the questions and tasks for your test participants.
Let us now discuss the usability testing methods that you would like to include in your test plan:
1. Guerilla testing
Guerrilla testing is the simplest and easiest form of usability testing. Guerrilla testing means going to a public place like a coffee shop and asking people about your prototype. Trial participants are selected at random. They are often asked to do a quick usability test in exchange for a small gift (such as a free coffee). It is low-cost and relatively simple testing that enables real user feedback.
Guerrilla testing works best in the early stages of the product development process. When you have a tangible design (wireframes or lo-fi prototypes) and to know whether you’re moving in the right direction or not. It’s always important to understand those test participants in Guerilla testing might not represent your product’s target audience. This is why guerrilla testing may not be perfect for testing specific products that require some specialized skills (ie, software for finance brokers).
The tasks you select for your testing session play a critical role in whether the findings will be useful or not. Since it is impossible to test everything at once, you need to prioritize all possible interaction scenarios and select the most likely one (main user flow). Usually, people who participate in guerilla testing will give you a maximum of 5-10 minutes of their time.
2. Moderated and Unmoderated Usability Testing
Moderate Usability Testing is another type of usability testing technique that requires the active participation of a moderator (a real person who will facilitate testing). Moderators with solid experience in usability testing and user research; will work directly with the test participant, guiding them through the testing process.
The moderate test is better suited for collecting qualitative feedback (helps to find answers to questions like “how and why did participants interact with a product in a certain way?” or “Participants interacted with a product in a certain way, “why is a certain problem happening?).” That’s why it is recommended to conduct moderate usability testing at the early stages of product design; when a product team is working on a product concept and wants to discover different solutions.
Setting up usability testing involves carefully creating a scenario. The classic structure for medium usability testing (a proven method of testing a product) includes the following steps:
- Pre-session questions: Questions about the participant’s lifestyle, background, and general behavior. Pre-session questions will help identify specific habits and other relevant personal information about your target audience.
- Actual Tasks: In this phase, the test participant performs a list of tasks using the product. All tasks should be selected according to the goal of the test.
- Post-session questions: This involves asking test participants general questions about the experience and gathering their thoughts about a product. Post-session questions allow test participants to voice their opinions and ask questions about the product.
As you build a structure with actual tasks, run a pilot test with one or two test participants to make sure the structure works well for them.
On the other side, Unmoderated Usability Testing is completed by test participants in their environment without a moderator. Instead of providing an overall review of the user journey, this technique is typically used to test specific parts of a product (typical interaction scenarios). General testing is done using special equipment for automated testing.
In general, the unsupervised usability test is better suited for collecting quantitative feedback (providing answers to questions like “How many?”). This test method is valuable when you need to identify whether test participants have How common are certain problems or behaviors.
Since no moderator can lead participants in the right direction, the outcome of test sessions will largely depend on the quality of the instructions you give to your test participants. That is why every instruction, task, and question needs to be analyzed carefully to eliminate the possibility of any misunderstanding.
Which is better?
Each type of test has its place and purpose, and the best advice we can give is to treat usability testing as an iterative exercise. Moderate vs unmodded tests benefit from different phases of the design, so don’t be afraid to mix it up.
3. Remote Usability Testing
Remote usability testing allows you to conduct user research with participants in their natural environment by employing screen-sharing software or online remote utility vendor services. In general, the test should be about 15-30 minutes long, with about 3-5 tasks. Remote usability testing can be “Moderated” (in the same manner you would for an in-person lab test) or, “Un-moderated” (where participants complete the tasks independently). Remote utility sessions do not require a participant or facilitator to travel. Consequently, remote testing is a great solution for teams with limited budgets or for testing products whose users are geographically scattered.
Tips for Remote Usability Testing
- Practice the technology
- Rewrite everything
- Be available
- Recruit more users
The following UX statistics showcase the importance of Usability Testing:
User Experience Statistics
- Every $1 invested in UX results in a return of $100 (ROI = 9,900%).
- 39% will stop engaging with content when the images won’t load or the loading time takes too long.
- 85% of adults think that a company’s mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website.
- 88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience.
- Mobile users are 5 times more likely to abandon a task if the website isn’t optimized for mobile.
- If a website needs more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of the people leave the website.
- 70% of people look at lists with bullet points. 55% look at lists without bullet points.
User Frustration UX Statistics
User frustration occurs when a person can’t overcome an obstacle or achieve a goal. Frustrated users are unsatisfied, don’t like to use your app, will delete it without using it, or, in the worst case, will tell others about their bad experience.
The following UX statistics will show you the importance of preventing user frustration:
- 13% of customers will tell 15 or more people about their bad experiences. 72% will tell 6 or more people about good experiences.
- Only 1 out of 26 customers complain when they are unsatisfied, the rest churn without saying anything. The absence of negative feedback isn’t a sign of satisfaction. 91% of unsatisfied customers who don’t complain simply leave.
- PWC found that 32% of the customers would leave a brand they loved after just one bad experience.
- In 2018 about 21% of mobile apps have only been used once.
- “75% of mobile users say they’re more likely to revisit mobile-friendly sites.” – Google
- “32 percent learn about application performance issues from end users.” – ManageEngine
- 80% of all internet users own a smartphone.
- 75% of all website traffic runs through Google.
- 53% of mobile users leave websites in 3 seconds.
- 52% of users say the main reason why they won’t return to a website is aesthetics.
- 90% of users have stopped using an app due to poor performance.
- Only 1% of users say e-commerce websites meet their expectations every time.
- Only 55% of companies are currently conducting any user experience testing.
E-commerce UX Stats
During this time it’s quite easy to get what you need on the internet. Shopping apps and websites can be found everywhere.
But there are several aspects you have to keep in mind when you design an e-commerce app. You don’t want to lose the customer before the purchase (which is why you want to use tools like session replay). The next wave of UX statistics will give you an idea of what’s important for a good shopping user experience.
- 68% of users wouldn’t submit a form if it required too much personal information.
- Customers who have a negative brand experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from this brand in the future.
- Types of personal information that buyers prefer not to release in a form: Phone number (58%), address data (53%), role/title (21%), last name (20%), company (18%), email (16%) and first name (11%).
- 55% would deter from a form if it included an automatic email subscription.
Since no moderator can steer participants in the right direction, the outcome of testing sessions will largely depend on the quality of instructions you provide to your test participants. That is why every instruction, task, and question needs to be analyzed carefully to eliminate the possibility of any misunderstanding.
With so many different usability testing methods, it is often difficult to choose the best one for your product. No worries! every UX engineer faces this problem. It is important to choose the method that you think will be good for your project and be flexible enough to change direction if necessary. Remember that the testing method you choose should align with both your resources and your objectives.