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Usability Testing A Gateway to Success

  • 29/09/2011
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

It is believed that the best tool to spawn leads is your website. If designed to meet user’s expectations, it can do wonders for you. Whereas, if your website is not very user friendly or does not contains proper information presentation, your business can be at stake. Hence, it becomes critical to evaluate your website and check if it is user friendly! Needless to mention, similar is the case with any product or application. Usability testing plays a vital role in deciding the success or failure of any software.

Usability testing is used to ensure that the application software users can use it to perform the desired task in the most easiest, efficient and acceptable way. Applications that are simpler to use and are efficient, are more successful than those which does not consider usability perspective. This is simply for the reason that every user wants to avoid unnecessary clicks and access the desired information in the shortest span of time.

If your website analytics shows you high numbers of visitors but not enough leads are getting generated, you need to re-think on your website design. Perhaps, it’s time to bring in some usability testing experts and get it evaluated by them. Ideally, usability testing should be a parallel activity while developing a website. If not done at the time of development, re-designing complete website at a later stage can prove to be a very expensive exercise.

Usability testing is best done by the target market users who are actually going to use the product/app. For example, if you are planning to test an employee portal; employees will be right set of users to test it usability before it goes live, as they can understand its use in real life scenario in a better way. They can actually pinpoint the defects or issues related to usability. In this method, the testers gather data on the participant’s success, speed of performance, and satisfaction. Post such test, a report which consists of the detailed finding & qualitative and quantitative observations is sent to the designers. It is always better to follow iterative approach. Once the designers make necessary changes, re-conduct the test and evaluate the reports. Ideally, more iterations of test performed, better is the website/app.

Now comes a million dollar question. Where exactly in SDLC can you perform usability testing? Usability test can be executed at various points in SDLC. It basically depends on you and your customer’s maturity of using it. However, usability can best be used during the product development process. The earlier you do usability test in the development cycle, more will be the cost that you can save. It is advisable to carry out usability test during the implementation phase. It becomes very important to evaluate few similar products available in the market and discuss their functionality from UI/UX perspective with the experts and the end users. The goal of usability testing is to make sure that there are no usability issues in the final end product/apps. Even if you find some usability issues, you can resolve them in the later releases. Usability testing gives you a confidence of delivering a quality product to your customers.

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