What is Usability Testing?
Usability testing is the method of allowing real people to interact with a website or product, and gauge their experience, feedback, and experiences. This is done by assigning each participant a set of tasks and observing them whilst taking notes on their user behavior. Ask yourself: How do they react to the task? What habits do they have?
This allows us to gather valuable insight about how easy a product is to use or navigate, pain points which might be encountered, and any extra qualitative and quantitative data which can be used to make informed decisions about the development direction of the product.
Why is Usability Testing Important?
Typically, you would start usability testing during the prototyping or wireframing phases of the project lifecycle. This allows you to identify and minimize any flaws or issues with the product which may otherwise present themselves at a later date down the road.
Not only does usability testing allow you to discover any possible usability problems, but it also allows the business to establish whether their real-world expectations will be met. If you discover that there are parts of the product which do not satisfy expectations and your representative users repeatedly have the same experience, then you know that there needs to be a change in the direction of development.
Ideally, you want your product to be easy to use, have an intuitive interface and layout, and allow the user to complete each set task quickly and error free. This creates a positive overall user experience, and helps you save time, money and additional resources on avoiding designing and developing the wrong product.
Advantages of Usability Testing
Saves time by helping you focus on what works rather than on what doesn’t.
Saves money, you will acquire a greater return on investment by creating a product users enjoy using and will return to.
Gathers real user feedback to help you make informed decisions.
Results in useful analytics for discovering and developing tailored features.
Ensures a product that is ready for market and will succeed on launch.
Explores whether the results will meet your usability requirements.
Even though it is preferable to use usability testing at the beginning of the project lifecycle, it is important to continue with user testing throughout. Testing is a repeated process, and if done correctly with the right timing, can ensure that the product supports and exceeds the users’ expectations in achieving their goals. This in turn allows a business to be successful in delivering a successful service.
Arctic Leaf is a digital agency with over 10 years of e-commerce experience serving clients of all industries. Our entire team is Baymard UX certified and our amazing developers can build everything from simple Shopify themes to fully custom headless experiences.