Large brands that have currently managed to give their users a great experience have gone through a lot of trial and error until they have found innovative solutions, hence the importance of iteratively testing our designs with real users, in order to provide a better experience every time.
So usability testing becomes fundamental within UX design. Now let's start by understanding what we mean by usability tests, these are a method that allows you to test the ease of use of a design with real users.
The most common way to apply them is to give the user our design and assign him a series of tasks that he must complete with him and observe him while he tries to perform the tasks, this is constantly repeated with several users at different stages of the design process, in order to understand where the user may experience difficulties and with the help of the feedback provided by the test subjects, be able to make the pertinent adjustments to the design.
The main objectives of conducting a usability test are:
- Determine if the test subjects can complete the assigned tasks correctly and without any inconvenience.
- Measure how much the user enjoys the user experience
- Identify errors that the design may have and improve them
Of course, the previous objectives respond to the final goal, which is to improve the UX design, and give the user an excellent experience and therefore generate loyalty with us.
The usability tests as mentioned before must be iterative throughout the development of the project, and must be understood with a process, that is, it presents multiple stages that must be taken into account each time you want to execute one, the stages are:
Planning is of the utmost importance in usability testing since when you come to the people who will test the design, you cannot improvise, but you must be clear about what and how you are going to test it.
So, you must define what are the specific aspects that you want to test of your design, be it the navigation, the name of the sections, the hierarchy and relationship of the contents, etc. In addition, you must define how the tests will be executed, whether it is in person or remotely, whether it will moderate it or not, how much guidance it will give the user, among others.
2. Define tasks
When you have what you want to test, it is time to define specific tasks that the user must perform, these must be specific actions that are relevant within our interface, in order to clearly measure if the design allows the user to solve those tasks in a way simple.
It may be that we have many tasks to try, but it is best to prioritize them according to their importance, since, if not, the exercise would be very long and the user may become exhausted and therefore not perform the tasks effectively, which would affect the result.
3. Search test subjects
It is essential before starting with the tests, to understand who my target audience is and look for users that adapt to that profile, because what we are interested in is giving our user the best experience. That is why I recommend that you build your Buyer Persona.
4. Observe and evaluate user interaction with the design
Observe the user carefully while performing the tasks, this can tell them when they got stuck, how long it took to perform the task, if they look comfortable, satisfied, stressed or frustrated. Give him the space and the confidence to express himself while doing the tasks, from there he can get a valuable badge.
After finishing the test, the user can ask questions about what he felt, or why he could not finish a task, among others, in order to better understand what may be failing. Try to quantify that information and make notes in the process.
5. Generate a report with the test results
With all the information collected, what we must do is analyze and synthesize in order to obtain what the design problems are and what can be done to improve them and obtain a better result.
Usability tests are a great ally for UX design, so you must bear in mind that tests are not carried out in order to know if it works or not, but to understand if we are giving a pleasant experience to the user, which will generate satisfaction and not frustration. Always observe the user carefully their gestures or actions, since they tell us more than what they can tell us in words, and thus we will better identify if we are offering experience rather than offering functionality.