Five tips to help you run usability testing effectively

At Webcredible we conduct a great deal of usability testing, either in our in-house labs or on the road. Observing typical users performing tasks on your product can be immensely useful in bringing out insights you might not have considered. It's important to remember however that you need to run these sessions carefully, ensuring you're getting honest feedback that will be useful to you. With that in mind, here are five tips for anyone wanting to try usability testing for the first time.

Observing typical users performing tasks on your product can be immensely useful in bringing out insights you mignt not have considered.

  1. The best interview is when the moderator is just a fly on the wall. Essentially, the less you are in the room the better. Let the participant use the stimulus instinctively, and provide gentle direction when required.
  2. Relax and reassure participants as much as possible so that they feel comfortable in giving you honest feedback. It's easy to forget how alienating usability testing can be for participants: they're in a room using a product they haven't seen before, with their every move and motivation being analysed!
  3. Always remind the participants it's the website being tested and not their ability to use the website. This will help keep the pressure off of participants, so they can be honest in their feedback and not second guess their initial instincts.
  4. Tell the participant that you didn't design/build the website - even if you did! If they're not worried about offending you people are likely to be more honest.
  5. Don't help out too early. It can be hard to resist the urge to point people in the right direction, but you'll get more useful feedback if you let them explore naturally.

 

Check back later this week, and we'll look at some tips to help you in analysing the results of usability testing research!

If you're keen to learn more, take a look at our usability testing course.

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