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Designing a usability testing study

  • Yasaman Shamloo's picture
    Yasaman
    November 11, 2022

When was the last time you conducted user testing to uncover bugs in your website or app and your users' issues, doubts, and hesitations? And how frequently do you do it?

Usability testing is an excellent way to validate your concept, website functionality, and design. It provides insights into how your potential customers might interact with your website and can highlight other issues with your website so you can fix them.

The global digital population is rapidly expanding. People visit a million websites and make judgments about their owners immediately.  If your website is unusable, you will waste internet space and delight your competitors.

This article will explain what website usability testing is, the benefits of conducting a usability test, and how it is done.

Why even do a usability test on your website?

You might be in the process of redesigning your website or want to make sure users are completing important tasks and reaching the targeted content on your current website.

Or, you already have done some digging and know there are existing pain points with users' interaction with the website and you want to increase conversions and stop losing visitors.

An important way to evaluate your website's usability after launch or during the redesign phase is testing it often and frequently. 

Usability testing is a method of discovering problems  and evaluating the functionality of your website by testing it with its representative users and observing their interaction while they complete the main tasks. 

How will a usability test help and what are the benefits?

Nielsen Norman Group have identified 3 main goals that most usability tests help with:

  • Figuring out what the problem really is on your website
  • How to correct or improve your current websites usability
  • Understanding who your users are, what they need, and what their preferences are

Now, how do you conduct usability testing?

Here at KWALL we do both in-person and remote  qualitative usability testing, with a focus on discovering problems in the user experience of each website.

But before we decide on the type of testing, we need to answer three main questions:

  • The goal of the test and the why? 
  • What our timeline is 
  • Who we want to test, our target audience

After we figure the answer to these questions, we start with the study plan. 

What needs to be in a usability testing plan?

  • Outlines the goals and details of the study
  • Format of the test
  • In lab or in field
  • Moderated or unmoderated
  • In-person or remote
  • Number of users and recruitment
  • Information on tasks to be performed
  • Specific tasks
  • Exploratory tasks 
  • Questions that you need to ask

Now that we have our test plan, KWALL conducts an internal  pilot test to make sure everything is going how we planned. And now, it's time to approach participants for the actual test.

 

KWALL conducts many remote moderated usability tests with users all over, to do this, we need:

  • Representative users, participants
  • KWALL facilitator, or moderator
  • Tasks 
  • Software to share their screen so that we can observe their behavior while they interact with the website when completing tasks 

From these tests we can identify areas where the site isn't working and might reveal other user behaviors that we didn't even anticipate. And then these findings will transfer into insights and actionable recommendations in creating a user friendly website.

 

Conclusion

 

To make sure your audience is reaching important content on your website, to discover problems and to evaluate functionality of your site, test the usability of your site frequently. Based on your website goal, timeline and target audience, you can observe users complete tasks and reach insights that can improve your website overall user experience and usability.

 

If you are feeling lost with conducting usability testing on your website, we would love to help out, let's talk!