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Introduction to Team-based Usability Testing

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Team-based Usability Testing"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Team-based Usability Testing
“As companies design more for usability and understanding, they will discover a competitive edge, for these principles save customers time and money while increasing morale.” - Donald Norman

2 Objectives Usability overview Setting objectives
Preparing the test plan Conducting the test

3 Usability Usability “means that the people who use the product can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their own tasks.” - Redish and Dumas, A Practical Guide to Usability Testing

4 Usability Is not functionality Is not beta testing
Functionality is how the system works Is not beta testing Beta testing is unfocused and at end of process Is not market research Market research is about customer demands

5 When to test Design phase Development phase surveys and focus groups
low fidelity prototype testing high fidelity prototype testing heuristic evaluation Development phase usability evaluation

6 Advantages of a usability lab
Lab is helpful for tightly controlling the variables Lab helps capture low-level details keyboard monitoring videotaping for later analysis eye movement tracking Labs allow less intrusive observations

7 Disadvantages of a usability lab
Labs are intimidating to users Labs are rarely portable so they cannot go into the users’ environment Sometimes low-level information is not as important as making high-level design decisions Labs are expensive

8 How long will the test take?
How much usability testing has already occurred? Have users been profiled? Has a task analysis occurred? Have usability objectives been set? How complex is the product? How much of the product are you going to test?

9 How long will the test take?
How many test participants do you need to get the information you want? How much training or prior experience does the test team have with the product? How many different usability objectives do you need to test?

10 Who should run the test? The most successful approach to usability testing is a cross-functional, team-based approach People bring varying expertise to the team All groups benefit from experience with users Interpretation of challenges and design decisions are more creative with teams

11 Who should run the test? Team-based testing provides a great way to get support involved early Developers learn to “hear” user questions when they design Writers and trainers can help design communication into the product Human factors experts and user interface designers can provide helpful principles about users and design

12 Who should run the test? More people can be involved in planning the test than in conducting the test Target 3-5 people for conducting the test Sometimes best if the developers are not actively involved in running the test, although they should observe if possible

13 How do you ensure success?
You need the buy-in of upper management if the results are to be applied You need the cooperation of development to ensure they don’t feel attacked You need the support of marketing, sales, and product management for funding You need the support of your immediate manager to spend time testing

14 How do you ensure success?
Pick a manageable portion of the product to test Select a high-profile project Select an area that will produce significant results Advertise your successes (become part of the sales story)

15 Stages of a usability test
Setting objectives Creating the test plan Creating questionnaires Selecting test participants Training the team Conducting the pilot test Conducting the tests

16 Usability objectives Created during user/task analysis and product scoping Must be measurable Should indicate: Type of user Task to be performed Specific performance criteria

17 Defining usability objectives
Five attributes of usability (Nielsen, 1994): Learnability: system is easy to learn so users can get started quickly Efficiency: system should be easy to use, resulting in high productivity Memorability: system should be easy to remember Errors: system should have low error rate and allow error recovery Satisfaction: system should be pleasant to use

18 Examples Novice PC users can change the ink cartridge in their color inkjet printer in less than 5 minutes using the user manual Users will be able to install and configure the default application in less than 15 minutes Users should rate the product as either “easy to use” or “very easy to use” (4 or higher on a 5 point scale)

19 Considerations A single usability objective may result in multiple design decisions Emphasizes importance of having cross-functional team Focus on objective that are most important to the success of the product

20 Test plan Explains what you are testing and how you will conduct the test Do not skip this step Important to have a plan that everyone can agree to and understand Helps communicate your intentions to others in the organization Do not overdo this step

21 Test plan Purpose Problem Statement/Test Objectives User Profile
Why are you conducting the test? Problem Statement/Test Objectives What usability objectives are you testing? User Profile Who are your users and their defining characteristics?

22 Test plan Method Task List Test Environment/Equipment
Details how you will run the test Task List List of the tasks to be completed, projected times for completion, required state of system to test tasks Test Environment/Equipment List what you need to conduct the test

23 Test plan Test Team Roles Evaluation Measures Conclusion
Define what each person will do Evaluation Measures What data you will collect through the test Conclusion What will happen after the test - reports, design meetings, presentations

24 Pre-test questionnaire
Ensure that participant meets user profile Gather additional detail about the participants’ knowledge and experience

25 Post-task questionnaire
Asks questions about a task as soon as it is completed Captures feedback when it is fresh Can help measure change in attitude toward the task Keep it short

26 Post-test questionnaire
Measure satisfaction and reaction to the product and the overall experience Ask participants to elaborate on a few critical areas/issues

27 Training the team Make sure everyone understands the usability objectives and the testing procedure Define everyone’s roles and discuss how they should behave during the test

28 Conducting a pilot test
Conduct a practice test using the complete team, all prepared materials, and the actual facilities Make sure at least one person observes the test to make recommendations Refine any of the materials or facilities as necessary

29 Selecting test participants
Number of participants depends on the number of user groups (differentiating characteristics) Target 3-5 users from each user group Best if users come from the real user population rather than internally

30 Observers Not actively involved in conducting the test, but can benefit from observing Must not comment or react to the participant’s actions or comments Should be separated from the actual room where the testing is going on Should be removed if they cannot avoid feeling defensive or being intrusive

31 Data logger Be familiar with any data logging forms
Establish standard codes ahead of time for recording events and comments Remain open to unforeseen directions Record user comments that summarize or emphasize good and bad points Keep track of time

32 Facilitator Main contact with the participants
Conducts the briefing and debriefing Only person to talk to the participants during the test

33 Briefing Thank them for participating in the product evaluation
Assure users that they are not being tested; instead, they are helping you evaluate the product Explain to them what will happen during the test; they will be especially interested in any recording devices and observers

34 Briefing Ask them to sign a consent form and a non-disclosure agreement Encourage them to think out loud so you can record their actions and the reasons behind their actions Make sure you explain what they should do if they have questions or experience problems

35 During the test Be sensitive to excessive frustration
Be ready to handle unplanned situations Remind participants to talk out loud Look and listen for the unexpected Avoid intervening unless necessary; try using questions to redirect rather than take over as the expert

36 Debriefing Get users to elaborate on significant events or comments
Ask for reasons to specific behaviors from the test Watch the video tape with them and ask them to explain what was going on in their mind

37 Summary Build a cross-functional team to: When you test:
take advantage of different skills get “buy in” from different areas build awareness of usability testing benefits When you test: Set measurable objectives Test with the right people Be prepared for the test Share your results

38 Questions? For more information about this presentation and other training seminars, visit This presentation is at Scott DeLoach Founding Partner, User First Services, Inc. Certified RoboHELP Instructor and Consultant

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