Research Summary on ‘How to Facilitate a Usability Test”

W9

MNGT 136

Research Summary on ‘How to Facilitate a Usability Test”

How to Conduct a Simple User Test with Jakob Nielsen

Published on May 28, 2010

Usability pioneer Jakob Nielsen is interviewed on how to conduct a simple user test.

Performing a Usability Test is valuable to business both big or small for understanding just what potential customers to your  business are experiencing when visiting the website. For conducting a usability test, a business does not need a lot of participants, just testing 5 people can give useful insights into the user experience.

The first goal with testing participants is to decide on practical tasks to be performed as a ‘customer.’ Prepare by deciding which tasks to test,  have  the participant  proceed with one task at a time.

As the participant works through tasks, the facilitator will sit next to them.

Remember this is to watch how the participant goes through the process of using your website, so as the facilitator you give no directions because you are looking for the experience of the test subjects.

You are also looking for a running monologue of the user’s experience with the test scenarios.

Other important factors to track in conducting your usability test is recording keystrokes and visual expressions for each task. When the test is done, then going through the data collected to decide what was a failure in user experience or a winner.

The video relates to the usability test that I worked on designing this last week, well its an interview with Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru. Also, I am going to be performing a ‘simplified’ usability test on a peer from my class to practice what I have learned.

Reference

“How to Conduct a Simple User Test with Jakob Nielsen.” YouTube, 28 May 2010, youtu.be/r0A6IW2TFFI.

Prepping for Usability Test

W8

MNGT 136

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Collecting Data on a Usability Test:

Record Your Sessions: This creates the opportunity to exam the session again to go over critical issues to analyze how the participants went through the task.

Video or Audio Recordings: Either will help to break down the tasks after the participant has left. Also, this will is a powerful tool to show anyone in the company that needs to view the findings.

Post Task Questions: Talking to the participants immediately after finishing the tasks, while the experience is fresh in their minds, to get feedback about the experience is an excellent opportunity to add more unbiased notes to the final report.

Time on Task: The length of time takes the participant to complete the task. When multiple participates are used then find the average length of time for each task.

 Explain the process of reporting data from the usability test:

  • After the test sessions, take time to make notes of observations and which problems arose that need to be addressed. Also what steps are going to be implemented to fix the issues.
  • If multiple participants were used, then gather all the notes to make a collective list of issues to address.
  • Now organize the list into the top 10 most pressing
  • Rate the list with #1 being the most critical to be addressed first.
  • From the list:
    • Brainstorm fixes for each issue
    • Who’s going to make the fix
    • Any resources that will be needed for the fix

Recruiting for a Usability Test:

When recruiting  participants for a usability test, there are many clever ways to resource people like Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Other possibilities are your local Facebook community groups, ask friends and family, or parents from your kid’s sports/scouts group.

Talking to Participants:

I would follow Steve Krug’s recommendations for prepping the participants in the test. Have Steve’s script in hand to facilitate the session and begin with letting them know the test is not about them but the website, to put them at ease.