a method of analyzing an interface by the standard principles of usability. For questions regarding whether to conduct a usability study or how to best go about testing.

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65
votes
10answers
9k views

“people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”

One of the most successful products ever produced is the iPhone. It’s loved for its excellent User Experience worldwide. It came from an idea by the late Steve Jobs who is among other things famous ...
43
votes
7answers
3k views

How do you prevent scope creep in agile projects when usability testing?

I have a client who recently asked me about this problem. I was wondering how you'd handle it? They are new to UX and to Agile methods, so they are struggling in interesting ways. As part of a ...
25
votes
2answers
887 views

Defining “Instantaneous” as part of usability acceptance criteria

The Setup I have run into this problem time and time again. An interface is performing slow and QA and/or Engineering come back and ask, "can you please define the acceptance criteria for how fast ...
21
votes
3answers
627 views

Best empirical method(s) for determining how to name something?

I'm a UX/UI designer leading the redesign of a web application that serves a primarily technical audience (DevOps professionals). A primary goal of our redesign is to make the UI more accessible to ...
19
votes
7answers
326 views

What's the biggest surprise you've had in a usability test? [closed]

Usability tests often present some real surprises where the participant's mental model does not match what they're presented with. What are the biggest or most interesting surprises you've come ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Should you reveal to the participants where they 'went wrong' during usability tests?

I realise 'went wrong' is not the correct term here. We're not testing the user, we're testing the site. (Hence the quote marks). Anyway: Take this hypothetical scenario: You're running a usability ...
15
votes
2answers
846 views

5-second tests vs. the short-term memory

I've recently been participating in random tests on http://usabilityhub.com and I find myself cringing when the 5-second tests come up and feeling guilty at my seemingly useless responses once I'm ...
14
votes
6answers
533 views

Should usability testing of a competitor's website be a part of your usability testing routine?

I was reading up on best practices on usability testing for websites and a recommendation was that get your participants to do usability testing on your competitors website as well as that would help ...
13
votes
13answers
346 views

Is user testing a luxury or a necessity?

I understand that you should be thinking of your users all the time but given the current climate where every pound counts is user testing just for the richer companies?? Should you discount your ...
13
votes
13answers
314 views

Ideal number of candidates for user-testing

I'm creating a draft proposal for some user testing involving several quite basic wireframe prototypes. How many participants would people recommend for this type of exercise? The intention would be ...
13
votes
12answers
382 views

When is automated remote usability testing useful?

There seem to be a fair few services these days offering automated remote usability testing, so I'm assuming there are a fair few people using those services, which implies that they ARE useful - ...
13
votes
9answers
170 views

How do you ensure that you've covered the whole site in your work?

I'm a relatively recent practitioner, and although my work's quality is pretty good, I still have one big back-draw (in my opinion): I always miss something or two when making or fixing a web site. ...
13
votes
6answers
286 views

How to test user in real situation?

What material and method could I use to record a usability test in real situation? I have to test some single user of an interface at their office desk, as they normally use it, without constraining ...
13
votes
5answers
222 views

How to rescue a usability test whose participant is lacking confidence?

Last night, I was conducting a usability test with a participant who was very uncertain of his actions. Before the test, I said all of the usual stuff about it being a test of the software and not ...
13
votes
4answers
900 views

Recording Debit/Credit Card Details at the start of a 'Free Trial'?

Does anyone have experience, analytics or similar on the impact of taking payment details at the start of a free trial period for a product? It's one of the things I hate the most about trialing ...
13
votes
5answers
356 views

What methods do you use to test the usability of an API?

Testing the usability of a programming interface poses a lot of challenges. It has a very different feel than testing a graphical interaction. The user can do almost anything at any time, as opposed ...
13
votes
5answers
485 views

What ways to conduct user research quickly and cheaply are there?

Let's face it, in today's world - everything is moving fast and with approaches like agile, UX gets squeezed. It doesn't have to be this way and from what I hear many companies are using Sprint 0 ...
12
votes
11answers
653 views

How do you take notes at speed?

One of the things that I've quickly found out when doing usability testing and field studies is that it's hard to keep up with the pace of what's going on and take sufficient notes. How do you cope ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

When does statistical significance matter?

When does the statistical significance of a usability test matter? I ask because in a recent Boagworld podcast, Steve Krug talks about how he recommends testing with only three users. When asked if ...
12
votes
5answers
322 views

Tips for A/B testing?

There seems to an increasing number of A/B testing services (such as Google Website Optimiser) and people using them. Have you got any tips on using and analysing the results from them?
12
votes
5answers
238 views

Helping participants in usability tests

I've just completed a round of lab-based, co-present usability tests as part of a usability audit for a web-based map application. I have ten tasks for the participants that require them to perform ...
12
votes
5answers
948 views

How should I introduce participants to a usability test?

I've been conducting usability tests for a few years now for a variety of products and interfaces. These have been in-person and remote, high-fidelity and low-fidelity, structured and unstructured. ...
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Who designs great UIs with usability testing?

If you want to make a usability expert twitchy and uncomfortable, ask her how companies like Apple can create acclaimed, wildly successful, and usable products using top-down design without ...
11
votes
5answers
837 views

How do you observe body language and facial expressions in user testing?

When user testing how do you record positive or negative body language? Do you use observed shifts in body language or facial expressions to consciously probe further about what the user thinks or ...
11
votes
4answers
397 views

How can we communicate that UX work can't be done by just anyone?

About 2 years ago, I asked about a good usability/UX elevator pitch, so I can quickly explain what UX is whenever I need. But, to this date, I still can't get over one little issue: lots of people ...
11
votes
5answers
408 views

Production Reaction Cards - too many?

Microsoft Production Reaction Cards (doc) The set includes 118 words which presumably you would reorganise, format and print off as individual "cards". I've never used them but I do see how the tool ...
10
votes
5answers
301 views

What do you wish you had known before your first ever user evaluation workshop?

What have you learned from the process of testing prototypes / products with users that you wish you had known before you went into your first workshop? Pitfalls, freak-out moments etc?
10
votes
4answers
7k views

Formative and Summative Usability Testing

I bumped into this document and it suggests the use of (a) Formative and (b) Summative Usability Testing. To be honest, is the first time that I bumped into this kind of terminology, and I while ...
10
votes
4answers
823 views

Form Design: Mutually Exclusive Tabs vs. One Form

I am working on a form design that currently has two mutually exclusive forms accessible via tabs (Option 1). During usability testing my team noticed that users missed the tabs and only noticed them ...
10
votes
3answers
483 views

Paper prototype testing on checkout?

I would like to run few iterations of user testing on a checkout re-design. This project is still in the early stage so I would like to take full-advantage of the situation and run testing sessions on ...
10
votes
4answers
227 views

Involve the user from the beginning if we want to emphasize usability?

I have questions about usability. Is it necessary to involve the user from the beginning of the software engineering process if we want to emphasize usability? Also, I read this previous question ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Usability testing and responsive web design

What are your take on usability testing and responsive web sites? The flow of page objects, hiding and showing different types of menus or the resizing of objects could have a big impact on ...
9
votes
6answers
489 views

How to find out usability problems myself?

I'm a tester. Currently when I see something that I don't like I suggest amending it and specify how. However I don't often see specific problems in application's usability and when I do I don't ...
9
votes
6answers
147 views

How do you find the balance between what the users' want and what the clients want?

You all know that project... After months of research, wireframing, prototyping, testing and workshops, there is that one client (normally the MD) that comes in at the end and knows everything better ...
9
votes
2answers
642 views

When Did Usability Testing Start?

I've been doing some research on the history of usability testing. What I've found out is that it has been done at least since 1981 at Xerox(based on unreliable source of Wikipedia). Can anyone ...
9
votes
4answers
276 views

What's recommended for the number of users to use in qualitative and quantitative testing?

I'm currently rebuilding our entire intranet from scratch, mostly because the tech behind is out-dated and it has been proved that a lot of information is difficult to find. Though that is beside the ...
9
votes
4answers
530 views

Paying test subjects for user testing/beta testing

I've read that focus groups are a poor way of conducting user research as it attracts professional focus groupers who work the focus group "circuit" for a living. This obviously has major drawbacks as ...
9
votes
4answers
468 views

Usability testing for open-source projects?

I'm working (slowly) on an open-source project, and I was hoping to do some usability testing once it's a bit further along. Also, hopefully the GIMP devs will notice this question ;-). I'm not sure ...
9
votes
6answers
604 views

How to test usability on competing mock ups cost-effectively?

I have a client that is very opinionated about what she likes and dislikes about my design and moves things around to where they "look right" for her. I want to test my original mock-ups vs her ...
9
votes
4answers
174 views

A/B Testing. How should it be done?

I just stumbled upon Google Website Optimizer. Is this the way to go? How do you normaly do A/B tests with your website?
9
votes
2answers
266 views

How do you test phrasing of labels, links, and descriptive text?

At my workplace, an academic library, we often have extended conflicts over exactly how to phrase labels, links, and descriptive text. For example, one link on our home page goes to a list of topics, ...
9
votes
4answers
826 views

Example video of a think-aloud protocol

I'm planning to use the think-aloud protocol for an upcoming usability test. A book chapter on think-aloud suggested that you show the participant an example video of someone thinking aloud. I think ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Open source / free screen capture tools for user testing [closed]

What free tools are there on the Windows platform that I can use to capture what mouse movements and clicks a user makes during an evaluation? Ideal product would: Not be likely to crash and freak ...
9
votes
1answer
269 views

How can I get useful usability data from a focus group?

After my company has recently been acquired, we have been allotted an hour of "usability testing" at an upcoming conference. The catch is, if we follow the template that has been put forth to us, ...
8
votes
6answers
490 views

How to design user evaluation tasks without leading people to 'the answer'?

By way of example: on the site I am testing I have a page that shows a piece of information; and a side panel that shows related / similar information from other areas of the site. How do I test ...
8
votes
4answers
927 views

What skills (if any) differentiate UX from Design?

I recently came across a poster on UX careers, where the bottom of the poster lists some specific skills and their prevalence in UX jobs. I found it somewhat disturbing that usability testing was ...
8
votes
2answers
478 views

User testing for car interfaces

Users often interact with car head unit displays while driving. Typical usability tests are designed assuming that the user is not driving while performing a usability test. Are there any good methods ...
8
votes
2answers
301 views

Has user testing ever revealed that you have to change your app's UI colour?

Dark-themed UI colours have been popular for a while on certain desktop applications (Adobe Lightroom as an example), and seem to be popping up on mobile applications as well. I'm referring to the ...
8
votes
3answers
467 views

How do you A/B test a ranking algorithm?

Let me give a hypothetical situation on A/B testing a ranking algorithm. Say I'm in charge of the popularity ranking algorithm on Youtube. I need to surface the most interesting videos to top of the ...
8
votes
5answers
286 views

Simplest, cheapest solution for hosted A/B tests? [closed]

I'd like to test two designs for the same call-to-action before deploying the winner in anger. An ideal solution would host both designs on a single URL, record the results and generate usage ...