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I am looking for a great template to create usability study results document without putting anyone to sleep. I have created plenty of them before but would like to see if there is something better that could also work for wide audiences. I have found a few templates in Google but nothing amazing yet. I am looking for something that you find works very well and excites the audience to pursue design recommendations.

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Would it be possible to share what you have used? –  Charles Wesley Feb 28 '13 at 23:36
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Usually I include the following: who the participants are and how many, tested tasks and scenarios, overall perceptions of the system by the participants (actual user comments), a table with usability issues, recommendations, and some user comments, Appendix that includes notes for each session. Currently it's 46 pages which is way too long. I am working on creating something much shorter highlighting the most important things. –  Anna Rouben Feb 28 '13 at 23:47
    
Do you want a template, as in a set of layouts for a certain application, or do you want a structure. My suggestion is to ensure there is a summary at the end and a table that provides and overview - this requiring some kind of scoring system appropriate to what you are doing. –  Stewart Dean Mar 1 '13 at 8:49
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would make a distinction between presenting the usability study and the usability study results.

Generally the results of a usability study are for managers or other non UX people who are only interested in what you found and what they can do with it. Their interest usually has nothing to do with you methodology or details about who you asked etc.

By all means, you should have a document (even if only for yourself) detailing the study thoroughly, but that is not what you should present to most people. Now try to think like a manager that just wants results, and who has no time or inclination to read a long document. No disrespect meant to managers out there, but you should try to explain it as if you were explaining to a 5 year old. The same goes for any time you are explaining a specialist topic to non-specialists.

Example:

We interviewed 15 people, and found that 63% of them had problems understanding XYZ (include pictures). We also tested these alternative interfaces (more pictures) and found that option B was clear to 94% of the participants.

We believe that by using option B we will have a 49% increase in our conversion rate.

A comprehensive report on the UX study is also available that goes into detail on the methodology and results.

Know your audience. For most people that is all they will be interested in, but if you know they (not you) will be interested in some other aspects, include those as well. If anyone really wants to know more, they will ask for the full study.

The same goes for presenting your results. Keep to what your audience is interested in. The goal is to show the information that they will find useful, and not to show how much work you have done.

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When I get the chance (and resources), I like to actually document the entire tasks and scenarios in a series of storyboards, captioned with the description.

I generally like to describe the participants in more details (if the information is available or can be disclosed), and put these somewhere near the results to allow people to think about things that might cause some biases or influence the results.

I've yet to come across a well documented and detailed usability study, not to mention that most of them don't seem to draw good conclusions, or extrapolate too much.

46 pages is a lot to read, but if you provide a summary that is concise and informative, then people who are interested will be glad that you have detailed information recorded and can judge the data for themselves.

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Rough format for the sections.

  1. Participants (N) and the reason for choosing these participants (expertise)
  2. Session duration, session times, list stakeholders and one line description of their role/responsibility within the study
  3. Tasks and Scenarios Task - Instruction(s) provided - Description of task (or step) - Purpose of the step
  4. Results same as 3, but instead of Description and Purpose, include Usability Issues noted along with the frequency, Proposed resolution of the issue (okay to leave it blank)
  5. Next steps based on results in step-4
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