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Testing Methods for Usability

There are three types of analytical testing methods that can be mixed or matched in the testing process, and they can include both analytical and empirical evaluations. The three types that are most commonly used are:

Empirical evaluation methods focus on evidence of good or poor usability such as the positive or negative effects of attributes of software, hardware, user capabilities and usage environments. User-testing is the principal project-focused method and uses project-specific resources such as test tasks, users, and measuring instruments to expose usability issues that may present themselves during use. Empirical methods can also be used to demonstrate superior usability or to optimize tuning parameters for animations and other interface components.

Focus groups may also provide valuable information about attitudes, beliefs, desires, and reactions to concepts or processes.

Remote Testing Lab

Remote testing allows testers to conduct research with participants in their natural environments by employing screen-sharing software or online remote vendor services.

Field testing can be a means to collect data about users, user needs, and product requirements through observation and interviews. This type of testing can collect information about task flows, inefficiencies, as well as the organizational and physical environments of the users.

Moderating Techniques for Usability

Example Likert Scale Questionnaire

There are four common moderating techniques used for usability testing depending on the goals of each session. They include:

Each test contains valuable information for specific situations, and each type of technique has benefits and detriments. Heuristic surveys also provide valuable information and are easily constructed using a Likert scale to rate tasks and functions on a scale of 1 to 5, or a Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree metric.