Full day training course

Usability Testing

Do-it-yourself user tests: Plan, conduct, and analyze your own studies, using in-person, remote, or online methods

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. Learn the benefits of traditional user testing techniques and online testing tools. 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 Covered

Topics Covered

  • 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
  • Targeting the right participant for your study
    • Identifying target users
    • Developing recruitment screeners
    • Recruiting agencies can be expensive, but efficient
    • Payment and incentives
  • Recruiting participants anywhere
    • Finding your own
    • Hiring market research firms
    • Using panels
    • Intercepting users from your site
    • International testing
  • 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
  • Online and remote user testing
    • Get same-day user feedback on your design
    • Increase your whole team's understanding about user behavior with your design
    • Setting up un-moderated studies where the participants complete tasks on their own
    • Applying remote testing for Lean UX
    • Optimizing time for short (15 minutes or less) un-moderated sessions
    • Moderating sessions while on the phone with the participant
    • Using online tools for rapid prototyping and iterative design
  • 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

Free Material With Course Attendance



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

Participant Comments

Participant Comments

"This class takes the scariness our of user testing. It emphasizes "learning by doing" which helps ingrain user testing knowledge really well. Great instructor too — great at keeping us awake with interactive examples and posing questions."

Sydney Ratzlaff, Emergency Reporting

"It's a lot of information in a short amount of time — but very worth while."

Richard Merrick, UI/UX Designer

"I learned so much from the day. Small changes I can make to our current usability testing which will make a big difference to our products."

Paul O'Leary, Asavie

"Anyone planning on doing usability tests, follow this course. I have been an usability specialist for the past two years and I've learned more in one day! Thank you NNG group!"

Mohamad Marhaba, Michelin, France

  • More Participant Comments
    "It's a great course for anyone willing to learn the foundations of usability testing. I liked the fact it's a constant flowing discussion between instructor and attendees."

    Andrew Briffa, Betsson Group

    "I really enjoyed this course! The level of detail and specific takeaways to implement has been really great."

    Lisa Murray, Zion & Zion

    "Conclusive content and Kara is very good and motivational speaker. I feel I'm ready to go home and start running my own usability tests. "

    Sofie Asplund, Knowledge Cube, Copenhagen

    "Packed full of great information that helps you connect concepts and methods to your actions. This course was particularly useful for those who are not 'classically' trained in usability testing."

    Judy Bayne, Autodesk

    "Fantastic course… as the business solution owner, I'm in charge of testing during development. This class gave me the complete playbook, including hacks, watch outs, and true rationale for a sound approach."


    "Great insight into how usability test should be conducted. Very informative and very well presented."

    Bojan Gospavic, Stryker

    "This is a great crash course in usability testing. As a researcher who has been doing usability testing of my own for a few years it stood as a good reminder of basic principles and introduced a few new tips and tricks."

    Paige Brannon, Career Builder

    "I have taught myself how to do usability testing. This course helped to identify problems with my approach and reinforce the areas where I'm getting it right."

    Brooke Fletcher, Shelter Insurance

    "This was a great class. I appreciated the breadth of knowledge and best practices relayed. The instructor is an excellent speaker and engaged the class which greatly facilitated learning and made the class fun!"

    Rey Echevarria, American Hospital Assoc.

    "Great mix of theory/research and actual usable techniques for administering UX testing."

    Cindy Wildish Rasmussen, MCIS, Inc.

    "A lot of great techniques on how to better personal skills of usability research, either observer, notetaker, or moderator."

    Daniel Hirst, NuSkin

    "This is exactly what I was hoping for. Great information."

    John Nance, Amazon, Woot.com

    "Course was great — I especially liked how Kara touched on solutions to conduct testing track insights and solution. This really elevated the course from "instructional" to "actionable"."

    Morgan Lacy, Shark Ninja

    "The interactive level is perfect. The storytelling & video helped illustrate best practices."

    Helen Fernety, Dillards

    "One of my favorite courses of the entire week. Kara challenges everyone from novice to advanced usability testers to expand their horizons and not only learn from her but from your peers."

    Tiana, Washington, DC

    "Kara was very helpful and accepting of questions about Usability Testing. I liked how interactive she made the sessions down to facilitating a session and taking notes. I learned a lot of new things to use in my practice."

    Daphne Adebayo, Career Builder

    "Excellent content and instruction. Hoa is FANTASTIC, gave us "real world" scenarios."

    Jennifer Fletcher, Pacific Dental Services

    "This course have given me tools for heading out to conduct UTST. I know common pitfalls and how to avoid them, Kara as a teacher is brilliant."

    Pieter Hörnell, Innofactor, Stockholm

    "Excellent training with focus on real work situations, but backed up by science and years of experience."

    Harry van Mierloo, Fox-IT

    "This course is really useful for those looking to introduce the concept of Usability Testing into their organization. Lots of actionable best practices are shared and you're likely to leave with at least one or two ideas to bring back to your company."

    Z. Smith, Domino's

    "I love that every single question was answered with theory and an example from her own experience."

    Tom, Ordina, Netherlands

    "Loranger's style is engaging, insightful and hands on. Her broad experience allows her to respond dynamically to any questions, and provide innovative ways to different scenarios. The session was fun til the end. Thanks!"

    Daniel Penati, South Muir Health

    "I learned a lot from this course. I felt like the instructor was very knowledgeable in the field. I didn't know how to conduct a usability test, and now I do! The only problem I encountered was the fact that we only ran through a usability exercise once. I did ok, but could have done better on the next test doing a real usability test."

    Marcus Davis, Northrop Grumman

    "Really enjoyed the gorup exercises; it opened my mind to what others think and how they interpret."

    Saffron Davis, The Regional Municipality of York

    "I liked the progression of the exercises and how we tried them together. I learned a lot from Kara's real world examples and really strengthened my knowledge. I'll be taking some of the tips and techniques I learned and using them right away."

    Michelle Larsen, Aquas, Inc.



Amy Schade

Amy Schade works with clients large and small in a variety of industries such as telecommunications, e-commerce, government, travel, automotive, music, publishing, banking, non-profit and education, including extensive work on corporate intranets. She has conducted worldwide user research, including longitudinal studies, remote studies and eyetracking research, running studies in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. Read more about Amy.

Garrett Goldfield

Garrett Goldfield is a User Experience Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group with 20 years of practical experience. At Nielsen Norman Group, Goldfield has consulted for clients in a broad range of industries, including e-commerce, automotive, health care, financial, media, telecommunications, education, art and non-profits, as well as highly specialized B2B sites. Read more about Garrett.

Hoa Loranger

Hoa Loranger is VP at Nielsen Norman Group and has worked in user experience for over 15 years. She conducts research worldwide, and presents keynotes and training on best practices for interface design. Hoa has consulted for companies such as Microsoft, HP, Allstate, Samsung, Verizon, and Disney. She authors publications, including a book, Prioritizing Web Usability. Read more about Hoa.

Kara Pernice

Kara Pernice (@KaraAnn) is Senior Vice President at Nielsen Norman Group. Pernice uniquely combines her 20-plus years of business, research, and design knowledge and experience to help organizations increase their UX maturity and derive interfaces which are usable, useful, and surpass business goals. Pernice is accomplished at evaluating and managing design situations, and crafting with a team the most fitting design and research methods, and converting this analysis into outstanding design. Pernice has led teams running hundreds of intercontinental research studies, and is expert in many usability methods. Read more about Kara.