Usability Testing: What, Why, and Its Benefits

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What is Usability Testing?

This type of testing is done to check how user-friendly is your software product. In a nutshell, before officially diving into the development of your product, you gather a small set of diverse kinds of end-users that use your product. The testing includes how easy it is for the users to use and understand the application. Besides, how easy it was for them to achieve their objective using the various features of the app.

Usability testing is a test of user experience. Both terms are interchangeable here. Hence, with usability testing, you get feedback from real users that may highlight some points of improvement.

This testing when performed during the initial stages of the design phase not only immediately highlights the elements lacking, but also saves the development time as well. Moreover, the applications itself is saved from potentially being a failure with the target audience.

This brings us to our next question:

Why is Usability Testing So Important?

It is important precisely for the fact that it is the users that make or break the application. If your app isn’t serving the best user experience, your software product has failed already.

So how to determine that what you are developing will satisfy the end-users? By performing usability testing, as mentioned above. Furthermore, it is a test that highlights a feature that is missing or can be improved, or a certain aspect of your app that was completely overlooked by the design team. Hence, it is important to get the right feedback from the right users. Then, you can improve your application until it passes the test.

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Usability testing determines the following aspects:

  • How useful it is?
  • Is it findable?
  • Is it accessible?
  • Is the application desired by the target market?
  • How usable is this software product?

What is the Process of Usability Testing?

Usability testing is made up of 5 phases in total. If we speak generally.

  1. Planning
  2. Recruiting
  3. Usability Testing.
  4. Data Analysis.
  5. Reporting

Let’s discuss each phase for you to get a better grip on what usability testing is.

Planning: This is the phase where the usability goals, criteria, and desired outcomes are decided. It is important to have a clear set of objectives in mind. Once all the critical factors are decided upon, they should be assigned to the testers.

During the planning phase, metrics like the demographics of the usability testers, the numbers, so on, and so forth are also laid down.

Recruiting: As the name suggests. This is the phase where the desired testers according to the set demographics are recruited. These testers are real users that match the user personas as well.

Usability Testing: In this phase, the usability test commences.

Data Analysis: The results that are driven by the test are then analyzed. Once they are thoroughly analyzed, then adequate recommendations are made to improve the user experience.

Reporting: The test results and analysis are then reported to the stakeholders or concerned parties that can include the design team, developers, clients, and more.

How Many Users Should Be Involved?

The answer to this question depends on how complex is your application. Besides, looking at the set goals and criteria of the usability test will also help you determine the number of testers that you may require.

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However, if your application is on the smaller side and so is your budget, then 5 is a good number.

Now that we have this concern out of the way; what are the advantages that you gain from usability testing, apart from the obvious?

Benefits of Usability Testing

1) Identifying Flaws and Errors Early On

Usability testing helps you find the errors or problems before the end-user does after launch. No one likes to encounter a software product that is ‘buggy’ or starts malfunctioning. Not only that reduces the credibility of your software, but users lose trust within your application and ultimately in your business.

This is why usability testing is so important. It is better to detect any missing or faulty elements/experience within your product before it is launched for the world to see. Moreover, fixing bugs after the product has been developed and launched isn’t cheap. So, you also save a lot of costs by conducting usability testing during the design phase.

2) Increases Conversions

Of course, once the user experience is improved and refined with the help of this test – it reflects within the rising conversion rate. Once a user is satisfied and happy with the interaction he/she is having with your software product, they are more likely to convert as well.

If you have an engaging user interface and even smoother user experience, then you do not have to worry about conversions. Moreover, usability testing, conducted by actual end-users help significantly in improving UI/UX.

3) Saves Company’s Resources

Since usability testing identifies any bugs or missing functionalities early on, it saves the company a lot of money, time, and resources. Because when these issues surface after launch, then fixing issues can get costly.

One of the best ways to save development costs and time is by investing in a prototype. This prototype can be tested and whatever needs to be improved can be iterated into the prototype, and tested again. This will ensure the best product that can then be developed with confidence.

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4) Usability Testing Produces a Great Product

Testing shouldn’t be a one-time process; especially usability testing. In fact, as the product evolves during the design phase, the testing should be done continuously. This way, not only developers and designers get first-hand feedback from actual users; they also get to study the users and understand them better themselves.

It’s a win-win situation.

Recap

Usability testing plays an important role in identifying any improvements within the user experience. As we know, it is important that the end-user is satisfied with your product. This is why usability testing is an important criterion incorporated in every software development company in Houston. The better the UX, the better the chances of conversions and ROI.

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