Full day training course offered at Usability Week New York City

Usability Testing

Plan, conduct, and analyze your own in-person usability studies

Watching users try to accomplish tasks on your site is the most effective and efficient way to uncover usability problems. This course will empower you to conduct quick and cheap usability tests throughout the project lifecycle, without having to set up an official lab. You will learn how to facilitate sessions, develop test plans, analyze data, and present the findings.

This course is ideal for people who are new to user testing or have some user testing experience, but no formal training.

"Nuts and bolts information about how to perform user testing will be extremely valuable in our redesign process."

James Kreuziger
University of California, Irvine

Topics

  • Step-by-step instruction on how to conduct your own usability studies
  • Why watching users attempt activities is better than interviewing them about their behavior
  • Differences between quantitative and qualitative studies, and when to conduct them
  • Discount usability testing: Is 4-6 participants enough?
  • Benefit of spreading budget across multiple small studies through iterative design
  • Measuring and tracking usability
    • Can new users quickly use the system?
    • How fast can users accomplish tasks?
    • Do people have re-learn how to use the system the second time they use it?
    • Where and when do users encounter errors?
  • Subjective satisfaction through post-task questionnaire
  • Determining scope of study, what to test and observe
  • Why you're ready to test now; testing at every stage of the project lifecycle
  • Recruiting users for the study
    • Identifying target users
    • Developing recruitment screeners
    • Recruiting agencies can be expensive, but efficient
    • Payment and incentives
  • Usability labs and setup
    • Formal vs. informal labs
    • Benefit of moderated in-person testing
    • Testing mobile devices
    • Writing a test plan
    • Tools for screen-sharing and recording
  • Recording usability sessions
    • How to take notes while facilitating
    • What observations to look for and record
    • Tools and techniques for video recording and note taking
  • Writing tasks (scenarios) to avoid bias and get the feedback you need
    • Exploratory tasks are open-ended and more research oriented
    • Directed tasks are specific and answer-oriented
    • Presenting tasks at the right time and order
    • Writing guidelines for tasks
  • Running sessions
    • Prepare participant when they arrive
    • Techniques for getting participants to think aloud and provide valuable feedback
    • Practice staying neutral and giving subtle acknowledgments
    • Reading non-verbal cues
    • Managing challenging situations
    • What to capture when taking notes
    • Note-taking tips and tools
  • Don't plan or test in isolation
    • Invite observers to watch sessions and take notes
    • How to debrief observers
  • Analyzing findings
    • Techniques for quick turn-around times
    • Use quantitative data to locate issues
    • Determine severity of each finding
    • Common analysis mistakes
    • Providing design recommendations
  • Reporting usability findings
    • Items to include in reports
    • Informal and formal reports
  • Presenting findings
    • Effective ways to communicate recommendations
    • Persuasive illustrations and videos

Free Material with Course Attendance

Companion Course

Online and Remote User Testing is a related course to Usability Testing. Each course can be taken independently or together.

In this course you will learn more detailed facilitation techniques and how to set up a quick and cheap usability lab. If you’re specifically interested in conducting remote usability testing, we suggest taking the course Online and Remote User Testing to learn how to adapt the techniques.

Format

You will practice planning, conducting, and analyzing  your own usability study during this workshop and receive immediate expert feedback. Lecture segments introduce topics and techniques.

This course also includes:

  • A live demonstration of usability testing
  • Videos depicting what to do and what not to do
  • Hands-on exercises practicing task writing, facilitation, note taking, and analyzing findings

Attendee Feedback

"An outstanding job of breaking down the importance and then the steps for user testing and the class was very engaging and informative. I'm looking forward to implementing my newly acquired knowledge."
"Enjoyed the pacing with which the information was delivered. It was well laid out, easily digestable and simple to reference the supplied materials."
"I thought the mix of lecture and hands-on activities was very well balanced. She was good at making people feel comfortable participating. The material was interesting and clearly presented. I especially liked the use of the video clips. Also, the class size was perfect!"

Instructor

Janelle Estes

Janelle Estes is a Senior User Experience Specialist with Nielsen Norman Group. Estes works with clients in a variety of industries and presents regularly about usability methods, email newsletters, writing for the Web, and the user experience of nonprofit websites. She has been the primary researcher on and co-author of NN/g reports covering email newsletter design, ecommerce communications, non-profit and charity websites, senior users and and social media messaging. Read more about Janelle