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10 Quick Usability Testing Tips

Posted by Jacob Creech on May 4th, 2011

Many of these are rehashes from previous posts, but who doesn’t love seeing handy tips in list form? Let us know if there are any others you’d like to add to the list, or if there are any questions we can help with.

Whether you are a seasoned usability professional, or you are new to the scene, there are always some basic points that can help you on your merry usability testing way. These are a few of the handy tips that I keep using time and time again; I hope they can be of use to you too.

10 Quick Tips for Usability Testing:

It's always a good time to usability test

1) It’s always a good time to test

No matter what stage you are in the process it’s always a good time to get testing. At best you’ll find out your site is working perfectly, and at worst you’ll find out it’s a complete disaster. The great thing is, with results in hand, then you will know what to do with it.

2) Test early and test often

Following on from the previous point – start now, and keep testing regularly. It’s far easier to make small incremental changes throughout the lifespan of your site or product than it is to change one huge, unwieldily lump at the end of it.

Don't be afraid to get your designs out there - early Twitter design

3) Don’t be afraid to get your ideas out there

We’ve worked with a number of people launching new sites, and they all share the same concern of knowing when they are ready to start sharing their ideas. That want to keep tweaking this and that before they even begin the testing process. Let me tell you what, you can all save a ton of time and effort by testing now and testing often – that way you’ll actually know what to change.

4) Use everyone at your disposal

This is a very important point for many reasons: everyone uses the web in different ways, and has different experiences across every site that they use. Ask your Grandma, your kid cousin, your friends, ask anyone – you’ll be amazed at the feedback you get and the different ways people think of using the same site that you would never have considered. And it’s free too. What do you have to lose?

5) Don’t listen to the naysayers

People love to have opinions – it’s part of human nature – and with every test you run, and every question you ask there will always be someone telling you it’s wrong for this reason, or that button needs to be shifted there. They may be right, or they may be wrong – either way your results will show you – and you don’t need to listen to all the advice these people are throwing at you. Rejoice!

What kind of questions should you ask while usability testing - examples

6) Experiment with the questions you ask

There isn’t any hard or fast rule to asking the perfect question while testing. Have a bit of a play and see your results turn up. IntuitionHQ is just $9US a test for unlimited questions, and there are other cheap tools out there, so you have nothing to lose by playing around a bit and finding the perfect questions for your audience.

7) Use social media

Stumped while looking for testers? Social media is your friend. Almost everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account these days, and when you rope in all your friends and acquaintances you start to get some really useful results. Send us a Tweet @IntuitionHQ or leave a message on our Facebook page and we’ll be more than happy to shout out your test as well.

Did you know IntuitionHQ has social media integration baked in? Check it out!

8) The web is full of helpful communities

The web has a whole bunch of great communities for asking all your usability related questions. Aside from Twitter and Facebook, you can check out UX.StackExchange.com, WebDevRefinery, UXBooth and a whole lot more for some great advice. Leave a comment below and we’ll be more than happy to help you out as well.

Usability Testing - Heatmap Results

9) Learn from your results

Lots of people go into testing with preconceived ideas, and will try and spin the results to meet their goals. Needless to say, it’s not a very successful way to test. Try and keep and open mind, and listen to your users feedback. See what the results say, do your best to learn from them, and your site will be that much better for it.

10) Do it now

This is more or less the same point I finish every post with; most people will read through this, think ‘hey, that makes sense’ and then put it on a pile of things they’d like to do someday in the future. If you really want to make a difference to your site, and to your users get out there and do it now.

Talking with friends or family about your site takes next to time. Setting up a test on services like IntuitionHQ takes only a couple of minutes. Remember, any testing is better than none, and even a few minutes is enough to make a difference. Get out there and do it – you’ll be amazed what you can learn.


Questions about usability testing?

Do you have questions about usability testing, how to get started with usability testing, how to integrate usability testing into your design process, or anything else? Be sure to let us know in the comments and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Happy testing all!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/hugh.bothwell Hugh Bothwell

    I think you meant “nay-sayers”; a “neigh-sayer” is a horse.

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  • http://intuitionhq.com Jacob Creech

    Thanks very much for that. I’ve made the change.  

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  • http://www.the-triumph.com Web Design Company Mumbai

    Thanks for sharing the tips.