Day#349: Usability testing

Day#349: Usability testing

Hey Researchers today I wanted to discuss Usability testing, this is a common form of testing conducted by many UX Researchers to ascertain information about an experience. This post will discuss methodologies and some processes that I use to ensure I get the best results. 

Understand your problem statement

What are the teams hypotheses around the product, what are your hypotheses around the product. By understanding hypotheses and goals of the team from a business perspective it will also give you a clear guide. I think it is easy for Users to say all you care about it is the user, but that is actually not true that you have to take business into account and understanding that stakeholders are in theory users of your craft and that you need to listen and understand them in the same way you do your actual end users. 

Plan ahead

Planning ahead will help with having solutions for your users needs as well as your own. Your Usability test plan will help with this. I include everything from dates and times to details on parking for users. Remember that all this is a form of customer experience to outsiders, if you are conducting sessions at your company head office like I have done so many times in the past then forgetting to fetch a participant waiting downstairs or them getting lost in the building will influence not only your session but the view of the brand in total. You can check this site for some general templates on Usability Test Plans. 

Prepare your script

Your script does fall within planning ahead, it is the script of the questions you will ask in the session. It is important to stick to the script because the more you go off the script from session to session the less chance you will have of hitting saturation because your questions are different. Another issue with not following a script is that you could ask questions in a different way, and this could potentially be leading or not in the format that you initially conceptualized. I would say the script is meant to help keep you on course, since this is qualitative I would say if you notice something truly profound and interesting that you ask the participant more information about their statement this I feel is okay to go off script but is to be approached with experience and understanding of the situation at hand. 

Stick to time

This is a complicated one because it is not only reliant on your own time, you will be all set up on time for your days sessions and then your first participant is 10 minutes late. With them being 10 minutes late, it can derail your entire day. Make sure to let participants know whether you are recruiting yourself or through a company that if they need to arrive 10 minutes earlier to factor in parking and finding the session room. If participants are extremely late and miss the session they are not entitled to their incentive, and that is perfectly normal. 

I think one of the most important skills to being a good facilitator in conducting Usability sessions is being a good listener. You have to make the participant feel so comfortable that they are okay with sharing their vulnerabilities with you. However you have to do it in such a way that you are not sharing your own vulnerabilities that they then start to assimilate to your vulnerabilities and feel like you may judge them if they don’t align with your beliefs etc. I absolutely love the experience of running these sessions, they can be both draining and insightful at the same time and I always have to zone out after a full day of doing this. This has not included a very detailed run down of each step and obviously each step has a lot more work going on behind the scenes. I will also do a post on synthesis as that is my also another really interesting part of this research journey. A lot of people do synthesis differently, and it people may think it can be abstract in the qualitative space but I generally run mine in a very systematic fashion. Happy researching until next time

Bye for now

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