August 11, 2012

Usability testing on low budget

In my previous post i talked about usability test and how do you do a usability testing on powerpoint presentation [button link="" size="small" target="blank"]Here[/button]

We all know that the better usability of your website bring you more happy customers, usability testing is one of the way to improve your interaction with the user and easier for them to use and as web designer and developer, we all know how our creation works, but not users, through usability testing is the only reliable way to find out how well the website works.

Many Organizations and company thinks that usability testing is luxury and required huge and expensive equipped labs and take weeks to get job done.

If fact it can be fast and cheap, such as paper prototyping ( can bring valuable results, as the post said "A paper usability-testing session works much like any other usability-testing session." and you don't need like hundres of users to do the testing,

“The best results come from testing no more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford.”

as mentioned by one of the usability guru (Jakob Nielsen)

Usability testing are in 3 simple ways Planning--> Working--> Feedback and this form a circle that goes on and on.

the fact that most companies only in recent years realised that they need to improve their website usability inorder to satisfied their users and they conduct a usability test, you should actually start conducting the user test at the every step of the development process even when you are having prototype or mock, the reason is when you move on the process if you could catch the problems early and corrections actions could be taken. Small user test could be conducted internally in your own company get feedbacks from colleagues or friends (remember that you don't need lots of people, 5 are good to get quality results). you don't even need targeted audience because most people could catch those problems, well at this moment you don't get the problem thats because you are so focus on your project that it might just missed out or difficult for you to catch these stuff.

To start usability test, you need some tools to help you, using screen casting software to help you capture users's action on the product / website. these software could be paid or free, i would prefer Apple Quick Time Pro, cost $55 and thats is quite affordable, well if you google around you might be able to find some free options for screen capturing software.

You will also need a Screen Sharing software and voice recoding ( Webex would be my preferred software ) that allow your other people in your organization to see what is going on live when users are using the product and so they could record down the users' behaviour and what they complained or said during the test.

These softwares are a great way to help you to get reference after then test, however what you really need is to watch their behaviour and conference live.

If you are looking for alternate way that you want quick and cheap jobs done, you might prefer some of the online services.