What Are The Top 7 Usability Testing Methods?

In an industry devoted to creating a great experience for people who utilize products, services, and applications, usability testing is supreme. The main purpose of usability testing is to inform the design process from the end-users perspective.

US researchers have developed many techniques for UX testing and validating product hypotheses and particular design decisions. User testing methods range from well-known lab utility studies to those that have been developed recently. This article will explore seven different types of usability testing methods and when we should use them, and why.

Things to do before conducting usability testing

Before we pick a particular testing method, we should clearly understand our target audience, available resources, and research objectives. This information will help us select the appropriate testing method and adjust the test participants’ questions and tasks.

Now let’s discuss types of usability testing procedures that we might want to include in our test plan:

1. Guerilla testing

Guerilla testing is the simplest form of usability testing. Guerilla testing means going into a public place and asking people about our prototype. Test participants will be chosen randomly. They will be asked to perform a quick usability test in exchange for a small gift. It is very low cost and relatively simple testing that enables real user feedback.

user testing methods

When to use

Guerilla testing works best in the early stages of the development procedure. When we have a tangible design, wireframes for prototypes, and want to know whether we are moving in the right direction or not, this UX testing procedure is also very ideal for collecting personal opinions and emotional impressions about ideas and concepts.

What to remember

The task we select for our UX testing methods will play a critical role in whether findings will be useful or not. Since it is impossible to test everything at once, we must prioritize all possible interactions and select the most probable one.

2. Lab usability testing

As suggested by the name lab, utility testing runs in unique environments and is supervised by a moderator. A moderator is a professional who looks to obtain feedback from live users. During a moderated test, moderators facilitate test participants through tasks, answer their questions, and reply to their real-time feedback.

When to use

Lab usability testing operates best when we have in-depth information about how real users will interact with our product and what issues they will face. It will help us in investigating the reasoning behind user testing methodology. This testing is moderated versus unmoderated will enable us to collect more qualitative information. At the same time lab, testing could be expensive to organizing and run because we need to secure an environment, hire test participants, and a moderator.

What to remember

A trained moderator and a place for running a test are required by lab usability testing. Here are a few things to remember while choosing a moderator:

  1. A moderator should always be ready to help test participants understand the purpose of testing and keep the participant on track if they have any confusion. Nevertheless, it does indicate that the moderator should tell test participants what they should do.
  2. The testing interview is an important part of this type of testing. Moderators reach test participants after the UX testing methods session and ask them a few important questions.

With lab testing, there remains a risk that the control environment will be different from the users’ real environment. Placing the user in a controlled atmosphere creates the risk of developing and unrealistic user behaviour.

3. Unmoderated remote usability testing

Unmoderated remote usability testing occurs remotely without a moderator. Quick, robust, and inexpensive user testing methodology result is offered that could be used for the analysis. Test participants are asked to complete tasks in their environment by using their own devices and without a moderator’s presence that leads to the product being used naturally. Unmoderated testing costs are lower; however, this type of testing offers less detailed testing results.

When to use

Unmoderated remote usability testing will work best when we need to gain a large sample for proving critical findings from our first moderated research. In other words, we have a particular hypothesis that we want to validate on a large segment of our users. Unmoderated remote usability testing helps us in testing a specific question or observing user behavior patterns.

4. Contextual inquiry

Contextual inquiry is less a usability testing method and more like an interview observation method that helps the product team obtain information about real users’ user experience. Test participants have first suggested a set of questions about their experience with the product and then observed and questioned while working in their environment.

When to use

This technique helps get engage information about users’ workspace, personal preferences, and habits. Obtaining all this information at the design process’s opening allows the product team to design a well-tailored experience.

What to remember

Research should never give an opinion during test sessions. The main being is watching how do participants interact with the product by not participating in these interactions.

5. Phone interview

A phone interview is a remote usability test where an arbitrator or instruct participants complete tasks on their device, and feedback is collected automatically.

When to use

Phone interviews are a very excellent way of collecting feedback from test participants scattered around different parts of the globe.

What to remember

A trained moderator is required for this type of testing. When it comes to interacting with test participants, a moderator should have outstanding communication skills.

user testing methods

6. Card sorting

Card sorting is one of the excellent methods for prioritizing content and features in the user interface. This technique is comparatively simple as all we need to do place concepts on cards, and test participants should be allowed to manipulate the cards into groups and categories. As soon as do participants sort the cards, a moderator should be asked to explain their logic.

When to use

That sorting will help us in forming a foundation about how we should organize our content or features. But it is essential for validating this hypothesis with real users.

7. Session recording

Session recording is a user testing methods of recording the actions that are real but anonymized as users take while interacting with the website will stop the data collected during session recording helps in understanding what features are most interesting for the users via heat map analysis and what the users face interaction problems while they interact with our product.

When to use

Fashion recording helps us in understanding the major problems faced by users when they interact with our product.

What to remember

For conducting the session recording, we must use a special tool such as hotjar for the purpose.

Hope this article has been able to answer all your questions related to user testing methods.