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Approaches to Usability Research2:20 with Anya Mezak
Usability testing is asking people representative of your target audience to evaluate your idea by using your product or prototype to perform realistic tasks while you observe, ask questions, and record everything that you see and hear.
- Empirical data - Information gathered through experimentation and observation.
- Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests, by Dana Chisell and Jeffrey Rubin
- Treehouse Usability Foundations course
- Treehouse Usability testing workshop
- Google rapid prototyping tutorial - focuses on sketching and paper prototyping
Defining attributes of a usability study
- Participants from your target audience
- Realistic tasks using your product or prototype
- In-depth questioning
- Collection of empirical data
It's often surprising how much valuable insight we can learn just by talking to
a small group of people.
This can be done in many ways.
In person, or remotely, moderated, or unmoderated, structured, or informal.
We'll discuss all these methods shortly.
At its core, what defines usability testing is asking people representative
of your target audience to evaluate your design by using your product or
prototype to perform realistic tasks while you observe, ask questions,
and record everything that you see and hear.
Also known as empirical data.
So again, what are the defining attributes of a usability study?
Well, it includes talking to people from your target audience.
Using realistic tasks with your product or prototype,.
Asking in depth questions.
And collecting empirical data.
In this short clip of a usability study, watch how I interact with a participant
who's using their phone to navigate my paper prototype.
I'm mostly listening, writing.
The participant is talking by using what we call the think aloud protocol
to narrate what they're thinking and doing.
Once in a while I will ask clarifying questions
to get a deeper understanding of their reasoning and motivation.
One big advantage of usability testing
is that you can do a study with a product at just about any stage of fidelity.
Notice how in this study,
I'm just using paper sketches to walk the participant through my idea.
The more realistic and detailed your prototype, the deeper the insights since
the participant will more easily be able to imagine themselves using your product,
and therefore giving more feedback on it.
However, the longer you wait to test the idea, the more time you will be
giving to a particular concept that may ultimately be proven wrong.
This is the trade-off you will need to consider as you plan your product testing.
Now, as you get started with disability testing,
you'll need to consider whether or not it should be moderated.
Which we'll discuss next.
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