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Software Usability Testing and Evaluations

Software Usability Testing and EvaluationsJust ask yourself the question, "How important it is to Remove the Stumbling Blocks?"

A well-planned trial run using the correct navigation and mockups can prevent problems before they arise which eliminates the need to re-design.

If an e-shopper gets lost in a maze of clicks and doesn't make a purchase, that's a big problem. If a visitor decides not to register on a website due to the lack of a privacy statement, that's a problem. If employees can’t figure out how things go together within the software is a big problem as well.

With proper preparation, usability testing can isolate these costly problems and point the way to solving them.

In its simplest form, usability testing requires only three ingredients: an application mockup or website, a usability tester, and an observer. The usability tester navigates the application, as a real user would, and the observer identifies usability problems by observing the tester's efforts. Add a few ingredients -- more testers, more observers, a facilitator, a set of well-crafted test scenarios, and some video equipment -- and you've got a recipe for success.

Here at Biber we pick five or six testers that represent the user base and who represent the same range of knowledge and abilities of the people who will use the application. Next we do a planning stage to define test scenarios.

A test scenario describes a particular task and asks the tester to accomplish the task using the application or website. The set of scenarios should provide sufficient challenge and time to uncover any significant struggles with the user interface.

Next is the Trial Run where the tester attempts to follow one or more of the scenarios. Observers watch and take notes on how easily tasks are accomplished; they note the tester's emotional responses as well.

After all testers have been observed, the facilitator may lead an additional work session with the observers to analyze and report the usability test findings. If a videotape was made, the observers might want to review it.

All of the above is just an overview where finding things before they happen can save a lot of money and time. Especially for companies that drive revenue from their website or application.

To learn more about Biber's products and services, please contact us at 1-866-626-6300 or email us at sales@bibertech.com.


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