Usability Testing

Business Agility Office

Usability testing is a long-established, empirical and exploratory technique to answer questions such as “how would an end user respond to our software under realistic conditions?”

It consists of observing a representative end user interacting with the product, given a goal to reach but no specific instructions for using the product. (For instance, a goal for usability testing of a furniture retailer’s Web site might be “You’ve just moved and need to do something about your two boxes of books; use the site to find a solution.”)

Members of the team (possibly including usability specialists) observe the user’s actions without intervening, recording what transpires (either informally, e.g. taking notes, or more comprehensively, using video, eye-tracking, screen captures or specialized software). Post-test analysis will focus on any difficulties encountered by the user, illustrating differences between the team’s assumptions and actual behaviour.

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