UX Research & User Testing

Running Usability Testing

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

UX Research & User Testing

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The "Running Usability Testing" Lesson is part of the full, UX Research & User Testing course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul discusses the process of conducting both facilitated and unfacilitated usability testing. He provides tips for facilitating in-person testing, such as asking about participants' expectations, prompting them to talk, and allowing them to struggle. He also explains how to set up and conduct unfacilitated testing using tools like Lookback, highlighting the benefits of obtaining unbiased and unfiltered feedback.


Transcript from the "Running Usability Testing" Lesson

>> Let's look at how to actually run the facilitated usability sessions. Very briefly, first of all, an outline of your schedule. This is normally what my calendar will look like if I'm running usability sessions. Each session is normally 40 minutes long. Any more than that and people begin to zone out and kind of can't really concentrate.

I normally leave about 20 minutes between each session, partly because some sessions run a little bit long, partly because I need time to just get my head in the game. There might have been something that somebody said that wanna note down or whatever else. And I never do more than six a day.

It is exhausting doing usability testing. Which is why I mainly rely on nonfacilitated usability testing these days. And then always split it around lunch as well. So you do three in the morning, three in the afternoon, or two in the morning, two in the afternoon, whatever you decide to do.

If you are gonna do in person, facilitate the testing, try and relax people ask about their expectations. So before you show them anything, ask them what they expect to see, right? So if you're say presenting a mobile app for a bank, so what would you expect to see in a mobile app for a bank, right?

Before you show them anything. Because that's interesting in its own right. Prompt people to talk a lot. Try not to lead people. Again, this is another reason why I don't do facilitated remote testing that much anymore cuz I can't keep my mouth shut and I do tend to lead people.

So I'm not very good at facilitated remote testing. And this is another thing I've really struggled with allow people to struggle, right? That when you see someone in excruciating frustration at something you wanna jump in and help them and you really mustn't because you wanna see how they struggle and where they're going.

Only a bit, you can prompt people if they get completely stuck if they said, I just don't know what to do next, rather than just say, well, that's the end of the session, then you can help get them back on track. Watch for nonverbal cues. They're really big one, [LAUGH] hammering the table is something that I did experience once.

Well, they will ask questions as they go through, and normally my response is, absolutely, that's a really good question, I'd love to answer it, but can I answer it at the end? Because I don't wanna screw up what we're doing now, right? Or prejudiced see? So now I'll make a note and answer them at the end.

Feel free to ask clarifying questions, right? So just, why did you do that, and don't say, why did you do that? But asking them to clarify what they're trying to do and why they made a choice that they did or what they meant by something, that kind of thing.

So that's facilitated usability testing. What about unfacilitated? Well, you got some options there. They're really easy to set up, this is being set up with loopback, you can go in and you can select your self test option, really simple. You then basically go in you write a welcome message where you say some of those things that you would have said if you were welcoming people in person say, we're not testing you would encourage you to speak out loud.

Any feedback is good feedback. You're not gonna have offend anybody a little bit like that, I tend to work right in the welcome. And then you basically go through and write out the scenarios, right? That you want them to do and you give them add the URL into the prototype and it's as simple as that.

And then you tend to write a final message. Thank you very much, you're amazing, blah, blah, blah. Once you've filled all those details in, and notice there as well on the left hand side, you can say whether it's desktop, iOS, Android and things like that, which is good for you.

At the end of that, it just gives you a URL, you send the URL out to your users, they jump on the URL and then talk through the whole process. And it records them while they're doing it. It transcribes them, and then you can sit and wtch and pick out bits do you like and all the rest of it.

As you can see, that's a lot less work. But it's also really good because you get this very unbiased, unfiltered, unprompted view. So if you're not as confident about doing usability testing, or you're a bit rubbish at it like I am, unfacilitated works better because you're less likely to bias it, right?

Pros and cons, make your pick probably based on the time that's available to you.

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