Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users. Typically, during a test, participants will try to complete typical tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes. The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the participant’s satisfaction with the product. The key difference between usability testing and traditional testing (bug testing, acceptance testing etc.) is that usability testing takes place with actual users or customers of the product. Whilst traditional testing might be undertaken by a developer, designer or project manager, usability testing removes any bias by collecting feedback direct from the end user.

Exploitative Usability Testing

Before a new product is released, explorative usability testing can establish what content and functionality a new product should include to meet the needs of its users. Users test a range of different services where they are given realistic scenarios to complete which helps to highlight any gaps in the market that can be taken advantage of and illustrate where to focus design effort.

Benefits of Usability Testing

Feedback direct from the target audience to focus the project team.

Internal debates can be resolved by testing the issue to see how users react to the different options being discussed

Issues and potential problems are highlighted before the product is launched