04 May Usability Testing — getting the right results (and how it differs from User Testing)

User experience smackdown: Usability Testing vs. User Testing. Let’s start by making a distinction between the topic today, Usability Testing, and User Testing. Whereas User Testing pertains to earlier stages in a project when you are researching the validity of an idea, Usability Testing is “the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments.” Or in other words, according to Shari Thurow, its the study of “contextual task completion“.

User testing explained. Jerry Cao does an awesome job in comprehensively describing several testing methods, but annoyingly contradicts my point above by calling it User Testing. Ah well. Check the article out to learn the differences between moderated and unmoderated tests, the benefit of stripping out the UI to test information architecture with Tree Testing and how to benchmark your test results.

10 best practices for doing software usability testing. It will take time to become proficient in this practice. Fortunately many have been down this road before and have shared what works and what doesn’t.

5 ways to ensure Usability Testing results aren’t ignored. So when the work has been done, what do you do with all this data? Here’s a pro tip from INDUSTRY Working Session lead, Cindy Alvarez — make sure that you are asking the right questions in the first place. You need to understand the purpose of the feature that you’re testing and grill the stakeholder of the feature you’re testing to learn of specific questions that they need answers to, e.g., “how users behave, attitudes they hold, competing technologies they use, their intent”.

Paul McAvinchey
Paul McAvinchey
paul@productcollective.com

For over 15 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a 10,000+ strong worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on Slack, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Lunch and get a weekly brief that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.

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