The Process and Benefits of Usability Testing

Benefits of Usability Testing

What is an application or a website, if not for a seamless user experience? To deliver a product which appeases users and caters to their requirements, is the top most priority for any organisation. Usability thus, becomes one of the core aspects within a Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

But this can only be achieved when real users come into the picture to judge for themselves whether the product appeals to them in terms of seamless navigation, accessible content, response time, etc., or not. The feedback from actual users can bring in genuine pain points that can be resolved by companies for an impeccable user experience (UX).

For this, availing usability testing services becomes significant, wherein actual end-users or the target audience for which a software product is developed test the application or the website to bring out areas of impediments and roadblocks.

This basically becomes a key exercise as opposed to the conventional methods of testing as it adds on the perspective of the end-user itself. This type of testing has its intrinsic advantages as well. But before delving into these nuances, let’s look at the whole process which is very well-structured and end-to-end, from the planning stage to the results achieved thereafter. 

End-to-End Process

Usability testing is an extremely thought-of effort which is end-to-end. With this type, it becomes extremely easy to find defects from the get-go. The process followed is not rigid and may be flexible as per the organisational requirements. An overview of the process can start with:

Planning

This stage of initiation is extremely important to lay out the requirements and decide the whole process of the test effort. This ranges from how many users need to be recruited to the way it will be performed, remotely or in-house. The testers or end-users are also chosen according to the target audience for the product. For example, if an application or website needs to be tested for accessibility, differently abled users don the hats of a tester and identify the pain points in the product. Also, the way findings are to be analysed and curated, is considered in this step. Once a blueprint is chalked out of the process, further steps are then undertaken. 

Approaches or Methods

Usability testing can be performed by using different approaches or methods. These may include Hallway Testing, Remote Testing, Expert Testing, etc.

Hallway testing brings in people who are randomly selected to perform testing without any concrete expertise per se. Within Remote testing, as opposed to an in-house environment, users test the product remotely and share the results. Expert testing or review brings in specialized individuals to analyse the pain points in the product.

A/B testing is another method that is undertaken for performing usability testing. This includes dividing groups into two versions and checking which version is preferred by the end users. Although this particular type is a marketing strategy, usability testing in itself is not done for market research but for finding actual issues within the product.

Analysis and Reporting

Through these methods and strategy, major issues are reported by the testers/users for areas that are then resolved by the QA team. These issues may revolve within the spectrum of navigation, content, load-time of the application or website, colour contrast, presence of ALT tags, etc. This provides a realistic feedback to the company in actually understanding the problems within the application, which in the end is for the users themselves. 

These steps do not provide an exhaustive list of methods and can vary as per different requirements of the organization. However, the significant area of focus throughout different processes that may be undertaken, is the intrinsic requirement of utilising seamless usability testing services as it offers a foolproof understanding of a product. Let’s have a look at a few more advantages that it offers.

Benefits of Usability Testing

As usability testing takes heed of the end-users and their feedback, the need and benefits of this type speak volumes for itself.

Realistic Feedback

As the product is tested by the users themselves, the real pain points are brought forth. Although the sample size of users may differ and there may be some subjectivity involved as well, the end result or feedback would still provide an objective view of the common and universal issues.

Coverage of Non-Functional Areas

Usability testing serves as a superset for accessibility testing and both go hand-in-hand. To understand how well the product caters to each and every individual, usability and accessibility are viewed in parallel. For areas such as security testing and performance testing as well, usability testing is seen as a significant step of ensuring that the nuances within these spaces are seamless, such as the payment’s page of an application or the response/launch time, etc.

Fixing Defects Early-On

As defects are identified by the end-users at an early stage, the ease of fixing the same within the development stage is carried out smoothly. This also helps in truncating the defect resolution time and process.

Seamless User Experience

Traditional testing methodologies offer a seamless user experience as well, however, with usability testing in the frame, the experience is enhanced as real users test the application for genuine roadblocks within an application or a website. This also helps in retaining the loyalty of customers who prefer a product that identifies the real issues and functions as per their requirements.

In Summary

Usability testing needs to be given due importance as it becomes a very significant realm within software testing. This arises for and from the end-users themselves, making it a crucial area of testing.

The process of testing may differ as per organisations’ requirements and focal points but the common methods and benefits that are aligned with the whole process of usability testing, provide an enhanced understanding of the service. As it helps in a comprehensive test coverage of the actual pain points from the end-users, it gives a direction to businesses as well in revamping their product and delivering a more coherent user experience.

QA InfoTech is a pioneer in offering end-to-end usability testing services and evangelising its importance within the domain. Talk to our experts to know more.

About the Author

QA InfoTech

QA InfoTech

Established in 2003, with less than five testing experts, QA InfoTech has grown leaps and bounds with three QA Centers of Excellence globally; two of which are located in the hub of IT activity in India, Noida, and the other, our affiliate QA InfoTech Inc Michigan USA. In 2010 and 2011, QA InfoTech has been ranked in the top 100 places to work for in India.

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