Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Usability Testing: Get A Captive Audience + No Online Surveys

"To discover which designs work best, watch users as they attempt to perform tasks with the user interface. This method is so simple that many people overlook it, assuming that there must be something more to usability testing.

Of course, there are many ways to watch and many tricks to running an optimal user test or field study. But ultimately, the way to get user data boils down to the basic rules of usability:

  • Watch what people actually do.

  • Do not believe what people say they do.

  • Definitely don't believe what people predict they may do in the future.

...You must consider how and when to solicit feedback. Although it might be tempting to simply post a survey online, you're unlikely to get reliable input (if you get any at all).

Users who see the survey and fill it out before they've used the site will offer irrelevant answers. Users who see the survey after they've used the site will most likely leave without answering the questions.

...Your best bet in soliciting reliable feedback is to have a captive audience: Conduct formal testing and ask users to fill out a survey at the end. With techniques like paper prototyping, you can test designs and question users without implementing a thing. Following these basic usability rules and methods will help you ensure that your design is truly as cool as it looks."

I must agree 100% on all of the above, though I still see many organizations struggling with broing online user surveys that nobody fills out and little awareness of the many advantages of simple usability tests run with a controlled sample group.



Jakob Nielsen - [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, August 18 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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