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Our company is rolling out a program so the UX team can quickly conduct usabiliy test on easy features, instead of having to farm these quick usabilty test to expensive agencies. we are looking for advice and best practices as far as a large organization set up a system to conduct quick usability test on non-complex features etc. Has anyone done this before? Is there a proven system or process in place that anyone can reccommend? If not proven process, any advice?

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You should take a good look at Morae by Techsmith. My current client uses it for usability testing. You can distribute the client across the network so that the usability studies can be done in the user's natural environment. –  Mike Brown Jun 19 '13 at 17:45
    
I have had various success with OptimalWorkshop and Verifyapp that provide web-based online testing tools. –  Michael Lai 2 days ago
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3 Answers 3

Depending on how large your organization is and whether or not your building has a central gathering area, like a cafeteria, there is one method I've found very valuable in gathering quick and cheap usability data.

  1. Only test one simple thing (like the placement of a control on a page)
  2. Create a simple task which should take no more than 5-10 seconds to describe ("How would you view a list of accounts on this page?")
  3. Set up near the exit of the public area. Ours was a cafeteria. Sometimes we had a bowl of candy.
  4. As people leave the area, ask them to spare 15 seconds to help you out.
  5. Ask the question, record the answer.
  6. You could do a quick follow-up if you felt it necessary.
  7. Thank them and offer them a treat.

In a half-hour we could get up to 15-20 valuable responses.

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Your biggest challenge will likely be finding a steady stream of participants.

If you are testing for internal products, you can try this:

1) Talk to HR, and make usability testing be part of onboarding for new hires. This will give you a fresh unbiased view

2) If you are testing minor functionality, grab anyone nearby for 5-10 minutes who isn't on your product team

3) Offer free food as a lure when you are ready to bring in participants

If you are testing product that faces the outside world:

1) Consider usertesting.com, by far the easiest way to source participants and run tests. Draw back of course is that it is a canned test, and you can't easily ask follow up questions. The pros far outweigh the cons. It is relatively cheap too.

2) Use craigslist to bring people on board. Really time consuming. If you go this route, make sure it is defined as someone's job responsibility to do recruitment for testing.

3) In a pinch, you can bring internal people/friends/family or other folks. Some feedback is better than none. I wouldn't consider bringing anyone on board however who is working on the project with you.

Good luck.

Matt

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At a recent UX conference I came across a talk dealing with User Research in Agile environment. Two methodologies are discussed in the talk: RITE and Krug. Some highlights:

  • 'A morning a sprint, that's all we ask.'
  • In every sprint, test 3 users (first morning of the sprint)
  • Invite people to come and watch: Owners, developers, designers, writers, marketting, etc.
  • Debrief over lunch. Discuss the findings in an hour, while they are fresh in mind.
  • Ruthlessly focus on serious problems. Only attendees can vote on which tasks should be focused on.
  • Report should take less than 30 minutes to write and should be mostly bullet points (not more than 2 pages)

Here is a link to the slides.

Link to the presentation details and the speakers.

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I was about to submit the same answer! I was at the same conference :-) +1 –  Andrew Jun 19 '13 at 20:45
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