Usability Testing

What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a product testing method where users are asked to perform specific tasks while someone observes and gathers results. Direct feedback from users helps to identify gaps in design or functionality and inform product changes. Effective usability testing is a team effort that requires detailed test planning, participant recruitment, test analysis, and follow-up recommendations.

Traditional testing vs usability testing

Let’s say a business has a new website and wants to test how functional and intuitive it is. A software QA tester, developer, designer, or product owner could be assigned to test the website and check for bugs or performance issues. This would be traditional testing. But the business could also task this to an end-user via usability testing. Usability testing is often a more effective way to test how intuitive and user-friendly a website is, because it obtains raw, unbiased feedback from users.

Benefits of usability testing

There are multiple benefits of usability testing, but at its core, it leverages user behavior and preferences to reveal design issues and identify opportunities for improvement.

With usability testing, you can compare the performance of your website to that of your competitors. By observing users engaging with your site versus another, you can glean insights on which website delivers a better user experience. This can inform what content, features, or functionalities you should add to your website.

Usability testing also enables users to test new designs and uncover any bugs or issues that need to be fixed before the product is launched. The earlier you find and fix these issues, the less costly it will be for the team in the future.

Usability testing methods

There are various usability testing methods to choose from. Below are a few common methods that are widely used by several organizations.

Moderated and in-person

These tests are conducted and moderated in-person and are usually