Do you want to create better websites and mobile apps for your marketing agency clients or your company’s customers, but you’re afraid that doing usability testing is too expensive or too complicated? Fortunately, you might be wrong!
Usability Testing Might be Easier and Cheaper Than You Think
From my perspective helping clients at an interactive marketing agency in Raleigh, these were my five favorite tips:
- Designing with empathy (for users) means you won’t always get it perfect the first time. The “triumph of design” requires iteration. It’s not an indictment of your design skills.
- Analytics are not necessarily the gold standard — analytics tell us “WHAT is happening,” not WHY or HOW. Avoid a “thoughtless dedication to numbers.”
- Don’t force usability studies to “be scientific” — embrace the craft instead of the science. Share results with your team via quotes, video clips, and themes, not a patently unusable 50-page report.
- Conduct lightweight “formative testing” instead of “summative testing” (test quickly throughout, instead of waiting ’til the project is finished or nearly finished). This saves time and makes a better-designed final product. “Low-fidelity” paper prototypes get great results to start.
- Embrace qualitative insights by focusing on critical incidents you observe during testing. This includes both low points (e.g., confusion, getting stuck, frustration, or negative feedback) and high points (elation, finishing a task, empowerment, or positive feedback).
Where You Can Go to Learn More About Usability Testing
Hat-tip to audience member Tony Poillucci for suggesting Silverback, a cheap tool you can use to record a user doing tasks on your webcam-enabled MacBook or iMac, including screen captures plus video of the user’s reactions. Very useful, and only $70.
Want more tips and other actionable ideas? I previously wrote a recap of Abe’s TIMA presentation last year. And Abe and his colleagues are teaching another UX 101 workshop in North Carolina this fall — you can sign up now at the MoreBetterLabs website.
What’s your top tip for creating more-effective websites?