Forget guesswork on how people really use your digital service. Usability testing provides you with facts. In a usability test, actual users test your service with realistic use cases, and you get immediate feedback on what in your service doesn’t work and what does.
Usability testing is the mother of usability methodology. It was one of the first usability methods but still defends its position among the ever-diversifying methodology. It is cost efficient and reliable and identifies the product’s usability problems quickly. Depending on the goals for the study, the users either perform pre-defined tasks or explore the service freely. Usability testing suits both the design and development phases of new services and testing existing services for future improvement work.
Listen to your end users
Even with as few as five or six users you can reveal most significant usability problems. No other method replaces a traditional usability test. Testing with users doesn’t only reveal the users’ subjective opinions or things they’re aware of. The test shows objectively and immediately what the user does, meaning what they try to do, where they succeed and where they fail, what is slow or complex, what is easy and fun, what is difficult or annoying. You can gain more certainty by testing repeatedly in the different stages of the design iteration.
Even when you’re certain you have the perfect service your users may disagree. Designers and developers are not end users and can’t take their place. In addition, they know too well how the service works and what it tries to do. Even when the designer is not part of the service’s target audience, they often end up designing it for themselves. Furthermore, only actual users possess an actual need and motivation for using the service. This is why you need real users for testing and validating the service.
You can perform the usability testing yourself, or you can hire a specialist. However, an outsider with fresh eyes yields better results. The results and their analysis are more objective. Even the quickest and smallest test directs you in the right direction in the development of the service’s usability and user experience. It identifies the most critical bottlenecks and improve the service’s design.
If you lack the time, resources or enthusiasm for testing yourself, an outsider specialist with no strong emotional ties to the service can provide you with an impartial perspective. A new pair of eyes can see problems from new angles and provide new insight into the service’s usability. A seasoned specialist works efficiently and quickly, allowing you to proceed in the development process.
Improve your user experience with the help of Eficode’s new UX Research team
Eficode and Adage joining together, the new Eficode’s UX Research team moderates over 500 individual usability testing sessions per year in different client projects. We spend an annual 750 hours with users. On the company level, this means that every morning and afternoon is quality time between an Eficode UX specialist and a test user. We are among Finland’s prolific companies if not the most prolific company, judged by the number of tests. We are familiar with the users’ different ways of thinking, habits, user needs, opinions and skills.
We see daily how users use different services, what are the typical challenges they face and how services could better match user needs. When you include focus group interviews, individual interviews and other meetings with users, the number of users we see increases further. We work constantly with consumer websites and webstores, professional interfaces and digital services, mobile applications and business intelligence applications. Our extensive experience provides a solid background to interpret the importance of the findings and user reactions and to present comprehensive improvement suggestions.
Our clients are always welcome to follow the tests at our premises. Observing the user with your own eyes expands your understanding. Our experienced specialists also provide you with a concise report of the findings, prioritized by importance. We provide you with concrete suggestions on what and how to develop and fix. When needed, we also provide sketches to facilitate further development. Also, our designers and other personnel are at your hands whenever needed.
Of course, usability testing by itself doesn’t ensure good usability; you also need good design, development, marketing, communication, content and technical implementation. However, with good usability, great service experience and user experience are one step closer. Satisfied users almost always mean success for your service and additional business.