Make a quick glance about Usability Testing

Hai Everybody,

This article is about Usability testing and made a quick glance about it.

Usability Testing:
This defines how far products become user-friendly for end users.

10 points for quick Usability testing:
Top 10 points for undergoing quick usability testing for a web page

1.  Frames
2.   Over use of “leading-edge”(new)  technology
3.   Scrolling text, marquees, and animations
4.   Complex URLs (Ex:http://www.test.com/example/sample%20program%20sections%20pages.html)
5.   Orphans pages
6.   Long scrolling pages
7.   No navigation support
8.   Non-standard link colors
9.   Outdated information’s
10.   Long download times

Usability Guidelines:

In order to become user-friendly, following factors needs to be check out while doing usability testing for a product

1)   Navigation
o   Destination URL should be mentioned clearly
[Ex]: If a site relates to Flowers and landing page relates to flower shops then
Correct Destination URL:http://www.Flowers.com/Shops/Flowers_shops.html
Incorrect DestinationURL:http://www.Flowers.com/Flowers%20/Shops%20/Flowers%20shops.html
o   Link for Home page should be identifiable
o   If any important pages link can be given in home page
o   Site map, search can be provided for easy navigation

2)   Functionality
o   Site should be fit for user’s ranges from new to experts
o   Essential pages can be loaded in Parent page without leaving the site
o   If necessary plug-ins are used

3)   User Control
o   Should support in all browsers
o   Per-page size less than 50k
o   Should reflects user’s workflow such as clear exit point on every page, user can cancel any operations

4)   Language and Content

o   Important information should be present as noticeable
o   Related information can be grouped under single menu
o   Language should be simple
o   Paragraphs should be brief
o   Links should be expressive regarding content of the page, visible

5)   Online help and User guides
o   If help or guidelines are present it should be easily accessible

6)   System and User feedback
o   User can given provisions for entering their feedback regarding website
o   If necessary, User can receive email regarding feedback
o   if Plug-in or browser required, make an alert to user
o   On any submission of an form, confirmation can be given
o   On Feedback submission, can send acceptance alerts

7)   Consistency
o   The same word or phrase is used for all pages for an same item
o   Links should reflects title or content related to page
o   Browser page title is meaningful

8.   Error Prevention and Correction
o   Error messages should be understandable
o   Error Message should describe remedy for the error

[Ex]: If a Age field is validate for age between 25 to 45 then
Suitable message: “Enter Age between 25 to 45”
Not suitable message: “Enter Valid Age”

o   Error Message should have exit point.

[Ex]: If a webpage for an site displays 404-PageNot found, If there is a link provides to return to ‘Homepage’ for that site then it is said to be having exit point

o   Error Message should provide contact details for assistance, if any
o   Site should not get stuck for variety of user actions
o   Expressing user actions instructions in short and clear
o   Should make users  to recognize site on successful usage of it

9)   Architectural and Visual Clarity
o   Pages should not be dense, need some white-space
o   Visited and Unvisited links should be identifiable
o   Bold and Italics text should be avoid
o   Site should reflects relevant data in a meaningful relationship
o   All instructions mentioned in site should be clear and short
o   Unnecessary animation is avoided

10)   Web Accessibility

  • Web standards:  Follow web standards such as CSS
  • Images & Multimedia:   Provides additional information relevant to image or animations by including title, alt, longdesc for object, applet etc.., in order to beneficial to some users

[Ex] : 1)  <img src=”test.gif” alt=”Test image for testing”>
2)   <a href = “test.gif” title=” Test image for testing”>
3) <frame src=”home.html name=”main” title=”Main window” longdesc=”maindescription.txt”/>

  • Image maps: At the top of a graphical page include a link to the text-only page, and at the top of a text-only page include a link to the associated graphical page
  • Validation:  Validate using any tool for HTML validation like alt, img, links, xml, tables, frames etc..,
  • Variety of web browsers: Site should be tested on various browsers (Netscape Navigator or Firefox, IE 6, IE 7, Chrome, Opera, and lynx)
  • Scripts, applets, Plug-ins:  Alternatives should be provided in case this features are inactive


What can you learn through usability testing?

In a typical usability test, one needs to answers to these questions related to (Time, Accuracy, and Success)

  • Are the participants able to complete the tasks successful without any intermediate breaks? (Accuracy)
  • On successful completion of task, how fast do participants do each task? (Time)
  • Considering successfully completed tasks, how many clicks does it take to complete each task?
  • Is there is recover from any error in one minute or less?
  • How satisfied are participants with the site?
  • What amendments need to implement to make more users to perform more successfully?
  • How many errors are occurring while navigating?
  • Is there is error with meaningful information?
  • Is there is any poor page – navigation?
  • Is web site is failing those specific users for those specific tasks and questions? (Success)


What should you keep in mind when usability testing?

Four important points to keep in mind:
1.   You are testing the site not the users.
2.   Rely more on what you learn about performance than preference.
3.   Make use of what you learn.
4.   Try to find the best solution given the reality of your many users.

You are testing the site not the users:
When users facing any problem in completing task we should fix the website, not the users and you should ask “How well does the site allow typical users to meet their goals?” rather than “How well do users do on the site?”

Rely more on what you learn about performance than preference

  • Performance measures include success, time, errors, etc.
  • Preference measures include users’ self-report of their satisfaction and comfort’.

Both need to measure on usability testing

Make use of what you learn
Team should upgrade site often based on usability testing results in order to make users rely on website

Try to find the best solution given the reality of your many users

Based on Usability testing, try to identify the solutions for design problems and satisfies the need of different users you have identified

How many participants are needed for a usability test?

It depends, based on different users (physicians, Doctors) need to include separate group for each type of users. Probably 8 to 16 (per group)
In order to solve serious problems need only 4 to 6 peoples, if they work from early development, plan to take several round of testing.

UCD:
User Centered Design is define as giving extensive attention at each stage of the design process. It can be more clarified by below figure
ucd
Conclusion
In order to pass in usability testing ones application should satisfy

  • Must allow users to do their tasks at least as fast with as few errors and as much success and satisfaction as their current way of working.
  • Ideally, it should let them be faster, more accurate, more successful, and more satisfied.

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