What is Usability Testing?
Usability testing is one of the user research methods. It validates the product or service functionality by testing with real users. There is no solid usability testing process, but researchers observe users’ interaction and behavior on the product or service and see if there is any problem.
The goal of usability testing is to find friction or discover hidden opportunities to improve the user experience and function of the product.
User testing and usability testing has a different purpose. User testing is to see how the user interacts with the product, and usability testing is to find any problem that real users encounter.
Benefits of Usability Testing
Usability testing can help iterate and improve the product and user experience from prototype to development.
Discover the unveiled opportunity.
Usability testing can help discover opportunities the UX team hasn’t considered in product development. When you have usability testing in the early stage of the product development process, it can help you save money and time and avoid finding a significant problem after development.
Get an unbiased and accurate examination.
Sometimes it is hard to find an unbiased and accurate issue for the product team. With usability testing, you can bring fresh eyes to the product or service and find the customer experience problems and friction or minor issues such as grammatical issues.
Validate the concepts and functionality.
It is also great to validate the concept or product functionality and confirm the product if it is met expectations. It is essential to validate the idea during prototyping and see if the product or service can help to solve the users’ problems.
Types of Usability testing
There are many options for usability testing; broadly, three categories are used for usability testing.
Qualitative VS. Quantitative
Qualitative research aims to identify usability issues and find solutions based on the research.
It is to observe real users, see if they struggle with some UI elements, and check which design works better. Researchers can always ask real users questions and get insights from users’ experiences and define specific issues.
Quantitative research measures performance on a given task or user satisfaction. For example, researchers provide specific tasks to users and measure how many users can finish the job in a particular time. The goal of quantitative research is to assess the usability of an existing product or website and plan the design process based on the investigation.
Remote VS. In-person
As we can assume, remote usability testing is conducted by phone or internet, and in-person usability testing is conducted in person. The most significant advantage of remote usability testing is that it can be performed with many participants and is less expensive than in-person usability testing.
On the other hand, in-person has some limitations, such as geographic limitations and time, and it requires physical space to conduct the test. However, in-person usability testing can have better data because researchers can observe the participant's facial expression or body language and analyze additional data.
Moderated Vs. Unmoderated
Moderated usability testing is a trained researcher observes the users conduct their test and ask follow-up questions during the test session. This method can provide in-depth outcomes because the researcher and user interact directly, so they understand a better point of view. However, it is expensive to set up the test session.
The unmoderated test is that users can use the product or service or browse the website without any research directions or follow-up questions. The most significant advantage of unmoderated testing is that researchers can conduct the test session with broad participants at a lower cost. But, it requires setting up the test session by asking about specific behavior because the researcher cannot interpret the general behavior without follow-up questions.
Usability testing can help the UX team discover user behaviors and pain points, and they can define the design problem of the product or service. It also can provide better insight for the redesigning project or website design.
The UX team should decide what phase they would like to conduct usability testing during product development or update. It can start from the beginning of the process and choose where to improve, or they can run the test before the product launch.
There are many ways to conduct usability testing with a wide range of budgets, so the UX team should choose the proper methods to get the best insight.