Day#294: The 5 User Equation and how to understand it

Day#294: The 5 User Equation and how to understand it

Hey Researchers and Designers, Kim here and for today we will be discussing the 5 User Equation that I found on this amazing article called “Why you only need to test with 5 Users” The article is by Jakob Nielsen, he is a very influential leader in the UX community and if you have not heard of him before then please do check him out! The equations itself can be best explained by reading the article, however for a quick run down it basically refers to how you can get a multitude of results from simply testing with 5 Users. The equation is: N (1-(1- L ) n )

You can check out Jakob Nielsen’s video on the reasons for testing with a smaller sample size here below

Now that you have watched this video, note that this particular concept is split into a three part video, in the video below Jakob Nielsen discusses the financial benefits of testing with smaller groups. Something else to note is that the ability to conduct well organised and structured usability testing in this fashion of using 5 users is mentioned by him as something that a seasoned professional will be better at. I must admit even when I was more novice, I was able to conduct small scale testing of this nature and produce valuable results. I think it may also depend on the product as well as the user, but I am just helping other Users out there that may be learning that you should not shy away from this method. Simply because it is indicated that seasoned professionals will be the only ones that accomplish it correctly.

Now before you watch the final video in this series on testing with 5 users, I wanted to point out how much I enjoyed the fox and the rabbit analogy. It discusses how foxes have been studied in the wild, and when they come close to extinction with a particular species, instead of killing off the species they would go to another area. I have to add somehow the human race missed that instinctual lesson, anyway Jakob Nielsen discusses how you want to diversify and keep moving forward. I think it is worth noting that this does not mean that you should not test a new feature released, and move to a completely new facet of the product. This is because sometimes even after suggesting a better solution that solves previous issues, it may result in new unforeseen issues. This is why consistent testing is advised, but charging and alternating is what I understood from the video, give it a watch and please do share any comments you may have on it.

I hope you enjoyed this topic as much as I did, and learnt from it the same way I did when I watched these videos the first time. Research does not need to be this expensive, laborious affair that people and companies sometimes tend to think of it. Using this method, will mean way less costs and more results faster with you being able to see patterns in smaller amounts of data. Rather than sifting through 50 participant recordings and documents. Happy researching until next time.

Bye for now

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