This post is a recap of Webmontag Bonn (October 21, 2019) that was dedicated to usability testing topics.
It started with a talk by the organizer, Lina D., that introduced general concepts of usability testing. Normally, it includes figuring out how intuitive a UI is, how users handle their tasks within a UI and what improvements can be possibly made. Some common methods include prototyping, benchmarking, case studies with personas, interviews, eye-tracking, etc. The speaker went into detail regarding the Think Aloud method. This method has the following parts:
- A prototype is built (can be also done on existing software or even on a paper prototype)
- A use case is written (i.e. a task that a user has to fulfill);
- Users are invited for a short interview;
- During ice-breaker, the tester tries to define what customer type the user belongs to;
- A task is presented to the user. They have to complete the task while commenting on their actions;
- The test completes with a short feedback round;
- The whole test lasts about 20 minutes
The talk was followed by a lively discussion about the presented method and also about general usability problems. One question was how to select test participants, especially in the case of a very narrow target group. For example, you can try to reach them in person through industry events, etc. My suggestion was to launch the software and get feedback by analyzing analytics data or making online surveys (though from my experience a lot of people use this survey instead of customer service chat). Somebody also suggested recruiting the participants for one-on-one tests by displaying banners within the software.
There was also a lengthy discussion on accessibility. In the public sector in Germany, there exist accessibility catalogs that constitute minimum requirements for the software to be accepted. However, without proper accessibility testing, such catalogs are only partially helpful. It was noted that a lot of times users with a disability have a completely different workflow interacting with a software or a website.
The last topic that was brought up in the large discussion round was about how to onboard users to new software. For example, through instructional videos, FAQs, pop-up windows within the user interface (UI), or an overlay with explanations of different elements on the first login.
After this, the discussions of the Webmontag continued in smaller groups accompanied by pizza and cold drinks.