Day#359: How to prepare a Usability test script?

Day#359: How to prepare a Usability test script?

Hey Researchers as we approach the final few posts of my 365 days of UX I wanted to revisit some of the topics I discussed when I was still learning. I have really learnt a lot in these past 365 days on UX, and found that my passion lies in research specifically. It has been difficult at times keeping up with writing everyday when I want to just relax at times or enjoy my evenings. But I don’t regret this journey at all. I have learnt such work ethic from working on this blog, and I have learnt about the determination and motivation that I have always been capable of but never really tapped into on such a deep level. Today I wanted to discuss how to create a usability test script. They are so important in helping you and your team find the answers you are seeking, and if done correctly they can bring such light to those questions. Done incorrectly though they can be leading and aligned with human behaviours like confirmation biases etc. So ensure that the questions you formulate are undeniably neutral, the thing is I see a lot of situations where researchers know the phrase but are not understanding it in depth. 

For example asking someone directly if they can find x may be leading if you use the exact word for the thing you are wanting to see if they can find. You will want to be a little elusive, and indicate how you leave this section, instead of can you find the x/close button. Similarly as a researcher you may have to deal with stakeholders wanting direct questions. This is where you need to display your knowledge and skill on conceptualizing a question that is uniquely positioned to give the participant an opportunity to answer honestly without feeling even the slightest of biases. If you have stakeholders who are pushing for certain questions you also need to take the time to explain how things work to them, you will need  to help people understand why a leading question is not helpful when trying to collect data on behavior. Something else that I also wanted to mention before ending off is not only leading questions, but asking future based questions. These types of questions can be pointless in a number of situations. People will display the best socially acceptable version of themselves when asked future based questions. Circumstances change, and the best thing to do to understand behaviour in a lot of circumstances is to base it off of past behavior. Past behaviour helps shape future behaviour, and understanding how users deal with similar situations will give guidance on how they will deal with future situations. If you would like to see if they will change, you can potentially try gauge if there have been multiple of that same situation and if the user has changed in experiencing those situations already in comparison. 

I once had a very interesting situation where a participant was telling me what was so important when they were going through the purchase of x, they indicated that if they didn’t get this extra feature they would not take the purchase. However when asked since then if they have used the feature the participant responded with a sheepish no. What does this mean for findings? Well in relation to my synthesis and final report i discussed how maybe the behaviour of the customer does not follow through. But if that is something important in the purchase then it should by all means continue to be a visible feature. Obviously this is very elusive and I can’t share details, and you will need to discuss at length with stakeholders to ensure this is viable and helpful etc. My point is that in that moment that was a spur of the moment question that I decided to ask to gauge the importance and behaviour of the participant. I hope this helps as a starting point for working on your scripts, will work on doing a step by step guide in the form of a template for the future. Happy researching until next time.

Bye for now

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