Usability testing lays the foundation for building a successful product. Conducting a user test is a great way to obtain feedback, validate ideas, and/or confirm the need to iterate, improve, or start over with a new approach. This article will define usability testing, three different types of user testing, their pros and cons, and the best time to use each type of test.
Discovering issues within a product’s design can help companies save time and money. Usability testing is a means to evaluate the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of a product with representative users before launching the product. Identifying problems, collecting qualitative and quantitative data, and gauging user satisfaction are all key objectives for those conducting usability tests. With a better understanding of participant reactions, UX design teams can discern changes that need to be made to better meet customer needs.
Different types of usability testing
There are many different types of usability tests including moderated, unmoderated, and guerilla. Each type has unique characteristics making them ideal for certain scenarios. Here’s a further look into all three:
Moderated Usability Testing
Moderated testing allows moderators to observe and converse with the user directly. These sessions can be held in-person or remotely via video. In-person sessions can be held in a corporate setting or a more casual environment, like a user’s home or place of employment. The moderators should exhibit expert knowledge of the product and its interface. Moderators are responsible for administration, assisting participants, answering questions, and recording feedback.
Moderated testing activities
When to use moderated usability testing
Moderated testing is recommended for early development stage use cases, including competitive analysis, usability tests, prototype testing and discovery interviews.
Unmoderated Usability Testing
Unmoderated tests can be described as unobserved tests. Participants are not in the presence of moderators when tasks are completed. At the time of the study, the only one present is the participant. The participants can complete tasks and answer questions on their own time in a location of their choice without the assistance of a guide.
Unmoderated testing activities:
When to use unmoderated usability testing
Unmoderated testing works well if a large sample size is required, and feedback is needed quickly. Specific test questions can be answered as contributors interact in their natural environment. Concept and design validation is quickly realized with a diverse group of contributors.
Guerilla Usability Testing
Guerrilla usability testing, also referred to as hallway usability testing, is a fast, cost-effective, and informal way to evaluate how effective an interface is by testing out a prototype on its intended audience and capturing their responses. Guerrilla test participants are selected at random, typically during live interceptions on the street, in a café, or a library. Often, participants are compensated for their time with a small gift (such as a free coffee). Researchers can get sufficient feedback to help discover problems with user experiences. Undetailed, guerilla testing should not be a replacement for formal testing.
Guerilla testing methods:
When to use guerilla usability testing
For those with time and budgetary concerns, guerilla testing is a popular option. Without doing a lot of research, valuable product feedback can be gathered. It also proves advantageous for small-iteration type work
Moving Forward with Usability Testing
Usability testing is the design research method of testing the functionality of a website, app, or other digital product by observing real users as they attempt to complete tasks. Depending on the situation, there are several different types of tests to garner user feedback; among them are moderated, unmoderated, and guerilla. When used in the proper scenarios, each can unlock unique benefits to design teams. Combining the usability tests is also an option to gather different types of feedback. No matter your strategy, usability testing is a great way to make informed decisions about your digital products and increase the chances of its success when officially introduced to the market.
Apexon offers a full suite of experience services designed to turn all your digital touchpoints into competitive advantages. Our UX strategy and design services include prototyping and usability testing to give you confidence with your next product launch. To learn more, check out Apexon’s UX strategy and design services or get in touch using the form below.