guerilla usability testing, or how i learned that perfectly imperfect tests are still worth it
Post on 21-Apr-2017
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Guerilla usability testing orHow I learned that perfectly imperfect tests are still worth it
Sara Snyder @sosarasays
Benefits of in-house, DIY testing (but you know this already!)Uncover unexpected issuesFix problems early, while it is still relatively easyTest assumptions, early and oftenIntroduce objectivity into opinion warsContinually cultivate empathy in the hearts of stakeholdersSet baselines and measure improvementGreat ROI at such low cost, wed be crazy not to!
Listening to what people say is misleading: you have to watch what they actually do.-Jakob Nielsen, Usability 101, useit.com
How Usable is your Usability Testing?Get representative users.Ask users to perform representative tasks with the design.Observe where they succeed, and where they run into problems.
Easy, right? So how frequently are you testing?
The best usability test is the one you actually do. Repeatedly.The process & reporting MUST be fairly painless, or well find some excuse to put it off:
Too busy, cant stop for testing right now.Id like to get one more feature built before showing it to anybody.The testing software is too expensive.(I am scared or embarrassed to find out the truth: that my website isnt usable!)
Story 1: It is a quick read, and there are lots of pictures.
Story 1: Lessons LearnedShy? Get over it. Human-to-human interaction IS happening.Tailor your recruitment strategy for each audience you are seeking (the yell vs. whisper)Live-streaming tests can be technologically tricky, but really engages stakeholders.Pre-screen your candidates a bit before you sit them down at the computer.Make graduate students (like me) write the reports!
Story 2: Pay no attention that row of women in glasses.
Story 2: Lessons LearnedThe best way to convince management of the value of testing is by (duh) testingeven without software.Recorded tests are simpler to set up, especially if you dont have much IT help.Be creative with non-monetary incentives. Group screenings + coffee + donuts = maximum stakeholder engagement!Understand Human Subjects Research policies
Story 3: You almost done with that sandwich?
Story 3: Lessons LearnedStill shy? Still too busy? Recruit a usability intern, treat them well, and keep them around as long a you can.When recording on the go, good sound is EVERYTHING (mic + facilitator earphone test).Test out tasks on staff who may not use website often. If one task seems too hard, IT IS! Drop it!Really nice people hang out in art museums, and boy, do they love tote bags.
Mistakes arent forever. When youre testing often, it lowers the stakes.
It will always grow back.
D.I.Y. Usability LabLaptop & USB microphoneSoftware optionsMorae ($1,500) Camtasia ($300)Silverback for Mac ($0-39)Paper and pencil (free)
Analyzing and Reporting On ResultsHolding screenings for staff helps develop their interest level & empathy
A one-page list of improvements you can act on is better than a 10-page report that sits in a drawer!
Let the next round of imperfect-but-still-good-enough testing start!