Usability testing in a nutshell is a 1 on 1 session with real life users, asking them to perform a number of tasks on a website / app to see what works well and what doesn't.
Why Bother with User Testing?
Usability testing is sometimes overlooked as a research method for UX as it’s seen as expensive, time consuming and hard to do.
However, it's essential to find out exactly how the target audience expects the website to work. If they can't use it easily with no frustrations then there is a high chance they will move onto a competitors website.
The advantages of Usability testing
You get feedback directly from your target audience:
We have all been in a situation where we know something doesn't quite work as well as it should but we can't get anyone to agree it's a priority. Plus usability testing is too expensive, right? But the truth is, if you ignore these usability issues it won’t be long before a competitor comes along and steals the majority of your users because their website is easier to use. Usability testing can be costly but it can also be the make or break of your business.
If users have a good experience on your website they are likely to come back:
You know your website back to front, right? Everything that should be there is there and it's exactly where it needs to be, correct? Wrong!! As someone who has done numerous test sessions and conducted sessions on their own website, this is never the case! A pain point to User A could be completely different to User B and something that works well for you, might be like rocket science for someone else. If you want people to come back to your website you have to make sure it’s simple, fast and easy to use for your target audience.
You can test anywhere, at any time:
There is never a bad time to test. Even if your website is only an idea on paper, speaking to your users and finding out what they want is vital, otherwise there is no point to all your hard work. As long as you have a pen and paper and preferably a camera to record what they are doing and saying, you will find out vital information that will help you progress on the right track at any stage of developing your website.
Don't get stuck in your stubborn ways denying there are any issues. Find the problems and come up with solutions so your users have the best possible experience.
Every time a person has a great experience with a website, a web app, a gadget, or a service, it’s because a design team made excellent decisions about both design and implementation—decisions based on data about how people use designs. And how can you get that data? Usability testing.
If you found this blog interesting or are interested in running your own usability test sessions, read our blog 10 Tips when Usability Testing.