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Usability Testing, Know the 5 Quality Check Points

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 20 August 2012, 23:33 Hrs
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Bangalore: The main aim behind any software development should be to fulfill the needs of the user. An unhappy consumer can not only damage the project but also affect the reputation of the software development firm. Thus in the end what really matters is the users experience with the product. Usability testing is an evaluation method practiced to ensure user satisfaction.

In house usability testing and other lab tests do not check the software for its user centered interaction design in detail and thus does not truly help in understanding the user’s experience with the product. Usability testing on the other hand, verifies whether user interfaces can be easily used.

Aspects Checked by Usability Testing

Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, defines Usability Testing by the 5 qualities it checks for:

1) Easy to Learn: Usability tests check if the user can easily get a hang of the software and learn how to use it when they come across it for the first time.

2) Efficient: After the users have understood how to use the software, the usability tests verify if they are able to easily perform the desired tasks with it.

3) Easy to Remember: Usability tests also investigates that after a gap, whether the users are still able to use the software with ease or do they again have to struggle in learning how to use it.

4) Lower Chances of Mistakes: Usability tests also evaluate the frequency of mistakes made by the users, the severity of these errors and how easily users realize and avoid making these mistakes.

5) Satisfactory: Last but not the least, Usability tests aim at achieving customer satisfaction and hence try to understand the user experience.

How does Usability Testing Work?

Usability testing is an essential black box technique as it is the most important way of finding out if the developed software fulfills its intended purpose. The way it checks the functionality of the software is much more than just checking if the software runs properly. It analyzes the over-all user experience on the basis of what the user thinks of the program. Did the user feel good using the software or get stressed instead? Will the user recommend it to a friend or give a negative review? In order to find this out, the best way is to subject the end product for user trials.

It might sound similar to a market research, but the latter only involves collecting and analyzing feedbacks from the customers, while Usability testing comprises of analyzing how user friendly the product is, by conducting an organized trial under surveillance.

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