Tips to prepare a nice usability testing

Usability testing is one of my favorite ways to test a product/service/tool. Just sitting next to your participants and analyzing their reactions and talking to them is something I enjoy a lot because it gives you so much info and insights that are gold.

For those reading this article (thanks!) and are not familiar with what a usability testing is, I would strongly recommend this article of NN Group, really easy to read that will give you a basic understanding of this way of testing.

How to get you started

Once you have a prototype (that can be wireframes or design), ask yourself what you want to test across the flow. Outline general assumptions, I would suggest to do a bullet point list for this and develop questions around them.

Let’s imagine we want to test a pizza app. Maybe one of our assumptions could be:

  • Assumption 1: users found that customizing your pizza tool is useful for them.

Question: is the tool fun to interact with?

Question: did they understand what they have to do?

Question: did the users feel stuck? If so, where?

  • Assumption 2: …

These are assumptions you have made during your design process and now it’s time to prove if they are right or you might need to iterate before launching your product.

Great, you have your assumptions so, what’s next?

A script basically will help you out to start running the show and break the ice. Also, for documentation purposes for your project, it is always nice to have.

Your script should contain:

  • Project title and date(s) of usability testing.
  • Research goal(s) or assumption(s) you want to test.
  • Script itself. This is the meat of the document. Where you start with an intro (intro about yourself as the facilitator, why you are doing this, recording purposes, etc), followed up with the test (questions, etc), and finished with a summary (asking the user how was the experience using the product/tool, what would be nice to improve, being thankful for the time, etc).

Once your usability test is done

In case you need to show the result of the test to your client, I would highly recommend doing a report and also doing something more visual such as a video with the highlights of the test. Highlighting moments like what the users loved, what they didn’t and even funny moments and quotes are something that your client will really enjoy. Believe me!

My experience

How many participants? How much time would I need?

There’s no magic number. My fav number of participants is from 7 to 10 and spend around 45min with them. Of course, these numbers and timing are up to you since each project is unique. You are the one to make those decisions.

Are you ready for your next usability testing? If you need some help and guidance, hit me up!

— I’m a user experience designer, travel freak and animal lover. I’m living in Los Angeles and I’m working at Media.Monks.