Usability Testing – Why?

Usability tests are not needed for every project. For an experienced designer/developer, simple, typical websites should pose no serious usability issues. However, as project complexity increases – especially in regards to user interactions — so does the necessity of usability testing.

The differences between the people who use your Website/Application or Mobile App can vary greatly. Each user has a particular set of interaction expectations, goals, experience, and perception (both physiological and psychological). These, and several other variables, make usability testing an invaluable tool for any system that requires human-computer interaction. Many people underestimate the variability both within and between users – assuming that most people view the world and the interactions with it the same way that they do. Research proves this assumption wrong time and time again. Usability testing helps to identify those false assumptions and correct them, leading to a more usable, more enjoyable, and more effective website.

Frequent, Simple, Iterative, and Cost Effective

For most projects that need usability testing, Edge Webware highly recommends frequent, simple, and iterative testing throughout the development process. In most cases, spending tens of thousands of dollars in complex testing that requires costly labs, equipment, and staff is not necessary. Instead, most projects can implement a more simplified testing protocol that still yields valuable, measurable data that is useful in detecting usability problems and then correcting them.

There is certainly a time and place for formal, complex usability testing. For large projects or special use-case projects, the formality and specialized equipment that is involved in more complex testing can be invaluable. This is especially true when dealing with interfaces that are mission-critical or have serious safety considerations that need extensive testing. Yet, even in cases where such complex testing is necessary, it is always wise that it be accompanied by frequent, simple, and iterative testing.

Experts Required

While many Web development firms talk about usability, it is important to know whether they actually have anyone on staff who is trained and credentialed in the field. Edge Webware’s founder and President, Jerritte Couture, is a seasoned veteran in the field of Human Factors Psychology. His experience includes concepting, designing, running, and analyzing data for original research in academia, as well as working with a team of Human Factors Engineers at a large global corporation that specializes in big data in the legal information sector. Some of his research has been published in the peer reviewed International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction.

Don’t leave the usability of your site to chance, buzzwords, gut feelings, or inexperience. Too much rides on the success of your site; and too much of your site’s success rides on how easy it is to use.

Contact us today to learn more about our Usability Testing services so see how we can help you make your Website, Web Application, or Mobile App work harder for you by being easier for your users to use.

Usability Testing
Figure 1: Edge Webware’s Usability Testing process: frequent, simple, iterative, and cost effective.