Preparing and Conducting Tests4:08 with Dan Gorgone
Preparing usability tests involves a number of steps, and the more preparation you do, the easier it will be to conduct tests. With some attention to detail and a bit of patience, you can conduct your tests and discover a number of things that will help you improve your site.
Things to Consider
- Where do you plan on conducting your own usability tests? Is this a place you have complete control over, or is it a more public area? Do you have/need permission to test there?
- What equipment will you use to conduct the tests? To record the tests? Have you installed any software you might need?
- Have you prepared a script? Does it include a list of tasks and/or scenarios?
- Have you selected test users? Have you confirmed all the details of the test with them? Do you have release forms prepared for them to sign? How will you be compensating them for their time?
Hi--preparing the usability tests involves a number of steps--sending a date and time, 0:08 identifying a location, identifying test users, setting up test equipment, and logistics. 0:13 Testing works best when you have as much control as possible over all the variables. 0:20 So conducting the test in a familiar location like your office or home 0:25 is preferable to something like a coffee shop or other public place. 0:29 Using your own equipment is one way to maintain control. 0:34 For one thing, it allows you to install any programs you need especially the test recording software. 0:37 Recording test allows facilitators to concentrate on running the test 0:44 without having to simultaneously take notes. 0:47 After the fact, you can review screencast and any other recordings 0:50 as many times as you need to finalize your findings. 0:54 Recording can also allow you to put together a highlight reel of important sequences 0:58 such as common problems users stumbled upon and positive and negative feedback. 1:02 These recordings are especially helpful to show to designers and developers 1:07 so they can fully understand how certain parts of a site might breakdown. 1:11 Depending on your budget and set up, it might be possible to allow your team to watch the test live. 1:17 Though it is important to keep them separate from the test environment. 1:23 And you should always ask for permission from the test user to do the recording. 1:26 Get it in writing and remember test users should be compensated for their time 1:30 so make sure this is agreed upon before the testing begins. 1:35 So let's get some test users. 1:39 Researchers shown that testing with just three to five people 1:42 often provides enough feedback to work with. 1:45 So don't worry about finding dozens of test users 1:48 and think back to our primary user personas and goals. 1:51 If you know people that fit this profile, reach out to them and see if they can help you out. 1:55 If you have to reach out to new people, surveying potential users 2:01 can help you identify preferable test subjects by matching elements of your user persona 2:04 like demographics or the user's level of experience with the type of content your website offers. 2:09 Once you have the test user selected, confirm they can come 2:15 at the given date and time to your location 2:19 and make sure they're prepared with directions and your contact info. 2:22 Preparing your materials ahead of time allows for the greatest control over test conditions. 2:27 Ensuring the responses you get will be right on point. 2:31 If you done your research, you should have identified the primary user goals on your site 2:35 and you'll have some scenarios already prepared. 2:40 Be sure to take a look at your test users and see if those scenarios still make sense 2:43 and make any adjustments if necessary. 2:48 Preparing some extra backup questions is also a good idea in case certain parts of the site 2:51 aren't working or if the test user is eager to help some more. 2:55 Once it's time to begin the test, it's important to set expectations. 3:01 Using a prepared script can help keep the experience consistent for everyone 3:05 including yourself and it provides all the information users need to know. 3:09 So be sure to go over the ground rules. 3:13 Let users know you must have total honest feedback and that if possible, 3:16 they should speak out loud about what they're thinking at each step. 3:21 These tests are a golden opportunity to get inside the mind of your potential users. 3:25 So hearing their thoughts is another way to understand how users interpret your site. 3:30 Encourage them not to sugarcoat any responses even if you're the one that built the site. 3:35 Honest constructive feedback is the only way to discover ways to improve it. 3:39 So at the least try to complete at least three tests with each person 3:46 that relate to the most important user goals. 3:51 Make sure you observe and ask questions that allow the user to lead the way 3:53 and when you're done, thank them for their time 3:58 because regardless of the feedback positive or negative, you've gained valuable feedback 4:01 into how people use your website. 4:06
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