At LiquidHub, we firmly believe in the power of testing. Usability testing allows the intended users of an application, website, or program to evaluate its performance. This quick, affordable testing method can not only give you valuable insights into your customers, but also introduce design thinking to your organization.

We have identified five W’s that help answer important questions about usability testing.

Why Should I Do Usability Testing?

usabilitytestingUsability testing allows you to see your product in action with the intended audience. It not only shows your product being used, but how it is being used, and whether it is fulfilling its intended use. Testing also gives valuable feedback on various parts of your product (like concept validation), interaction patterns, naming conventions, functionality, and potential additional features. Identifying problems early on is another benefit of usability testing, which can save time, money, and preserve a brand’s image.

When in My Process Should the Testing Happen?

Usability testing provides valuable information at any stage in the lifecycle of a product, so the most effective way to test is to do it early and often. Scheduling times to test can help eliminate problems and optimize success when the product is released. Testing gives more insight into data that is being collected, which provides a more complete view of the human element to the design and technology.

What Should I Test?

processThere are many mediums that can be tested, and all give different results. From paper prototypes and simple wireframes all the way to fully functioning live products, all of these can be tested and provide valuable information to various aspects of the design. Paper prototype testing gives concept validation and generative research. Wireframe testing reveals general interaction patterns and information architecture. Testing beyond that expands and builds upon this base of information.

Where is the Best Place to Test?

Usability testing can be done anywhere, but it is at its most effective when done in context. However, there are benefits to doing it in different environments. When done in a lab, the environment is well controlled and there is more opportunity to get feedback from the participants. Remote testing is useful because there are no geographical limitations, lower participant costs, and more convenient accommodations for the participant. The benefits of in-context testing are seeing the product in its intended state, in a natural atmosphere for the participant. All have upsides and downsides that should be considered when usability testing.

Who are the Right People to Evaluate My Product?

usabilitytesting-imgThe best people to evaluate your product is your intended audience, however testing people outside your intended audience can reveal valuable information as well (like new unintended uses for your product). Usability testing does not need large amounts of people either, 99% of usability problems can be caught with just ten users.

Testing is a key piece in understanding your customer and giving them a product that is not only useful but also valuable. It is an on-going process. You are never truly done testing. Usability testing is a fantastic way to learn more about your customer. To see it in action, watch the following video.