In a world dominated by digital experiences, usability testing is a high-priority test initiative that every business needs to focus on for their digital applications. It is likely that all enterprise leaders will have heard about it, but what about the benefits or importance of different usability testing methods.
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Businesses need to have a clear idea about the types of usability testing. Only then can they pick the right choices for delivering superior customer experiences.
What is usability testing?
Usability testing is about validating the means of how an intended user can use the application and its features effortlessly and efficiently.
For any software product or app deployed for the market, product owners, developers, and designers need to know their product users in the digital landscape. They need to incorporate the end-user perspective when they collaborate on designing the navigational journey of a user within the application.
Usability testing is different from other types of testing like acceptance testing. However, acceptance testing focuses on end-to-end testing of the entire application from the side of consumers to ensure minimal defects.
This type of testing focuses on leveraging actual users of the software. It helps get the users’ perspective about the product rather than the gut feel of the testers or developers. Over the years, several types of testing methods have come into existence. There is also a steady push towards automation of QA efforts with respect to usability testing. However, the underlying principle of this testing is to allow the end-users to perform a series of tasks and gather insights and feedback from them. This feedback can then be leveraged to make product improvement recommendations before the actual market deployment.
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Comparison with real-world examples
Let’s understand how usability testing works in other real-world scenarios.
Let us take the example of a brand preparing to launch a new washing machine into a target market. With usability testing, they would pick a couple of end-user profiles who might be primary users of the machine. These participants would be asked to rate their feedback on different aspects of the machine such as the ease with which they can access different buttons or functionality, the speed at which different wash cycles are programmed, the product’s dimensions, etc. Based on the inputs and recommendations, the brand can make changes to the product. This can certainly ensure that the final product matches the ideal usability parameters. After all, they were the representatives of their larger consumer base.
The same principles apply to this type of testing in software development and are a primary reason for its importance amongst all other types of testing for software applications. Since millions of consumers use digital apps and platforms, it is important to incorporate their views and perspective on using such an application before launching the same for market consumption.
What should enterprises focus on in a usability test?
The four core elements that all usability testing methods need to focus on are:
- Usefulness – How relevant a particular feature or navigational journey is for an end-user?
- Findability – How easy is it to discover a specific feature or workflow from the application?
- Accessibility – How easily can a user leverage a particular feature or workflow after finding it?
- Desirability – Does the feature create a feeling of returning for the same from an end-user perspective?
By ensuring positive feedback on these aspects through iterative feedback-based improvements, businesses can roll out applications that are likely to have wider acceptance from their audience.
The types of testing methods in prominence today
It is difficult to have an exact list of the types of methods in prevalence today. So the three most widely used ones are:
Moderated Vs Unmoderated
In moderated usability testing, a moderator is present to manage the test execution. The moderators provide instructions, manage test devices and environments, collect feedback, supervise, and help participants execute precise actions to extract their responses.
On the other hand, in unmoderated usability testing, participants are left unwatched and can carry out the tasks in any way they desire. They may also test the application from their own devices.
Remote Vs In-person
Remote usability testing approaches focus on testing the usability of applications remotely by participants. This is useful for gaining opinions from a wider pool of target customers who aren’t present at the same location.
In-person usability testing focuses on completing the testing process in the presence of a usability engineer. It is usually within a more controlled environment. It uncovers more insights about specific behavior as the stakeholders who are present along with the participants can instantly observe and customize those.
Explorative Vs Comparative
In explorative usability testing, opinions and ideas about the app are collected in the early stages of development. All participants get an opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate on their thoughts and emotional perspectives about the application.
In comparative usability testing, participants are typically asked to pick one solution based on its worth against another application. The other application is ideally from a competitor.
Why is it important to have a usability testing strategy?
Enabling customer satisfaction and seamless customer experience is the hallmark trait of success for any business. In the digital era, delivering a superior customer experience across all digital channels takes center stage.
While developing great applications is one side of the equation, the other half focuses on ensuring that the app built serves its audience well. And so, this is where this testing makes for a great case. However, as digital complexity increases, enterprises need to find ways to automate their usability testing initiatives to drive better ROI and deliver apps faster.
This is where ACCELQ’s end-to-end test automation platform can help bring a difference. Talk to us to schedule a demo to understand more.