You’ve Done Usability Testing, Now What?

Eoin Cooke

Intern

There is a lot of discussion about why you should do Usability Testing and how to run the actual test itself. However, what do you do with all of this data once you have gathered it? How do you analyse it and what does it mean for you as a business, and as a Design process? Here we discuss the next steps you should take in order to get the most from your testing.

Illustration of a person walking through the door of options available after doing usability testing.

Gathering The Data

Before the test it is safe to assume you compiled a script or guide. This contains scenarios, questions, a list of tasks for the participant to do and some broad goals in mind. You probably had a sense there was a problem with your product but not exactly sure where. During the course of the testing, other issues you were not aware of probably came up. The Usability Test may have covered a variety of areas too with your product – the User Experience (UX), Interaction Design, Visual Design, etc. That is a lot of areas to cover and a lot of data to gather.

Synthesizing The Data

Effective synthesis and reporting is required. Group related tasks together into defined sections within the report. For example, a table could be created to compare “Time On Task” by all of the participants. If you did a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire as part of the test, this can also be collated into a table to identify potential pain-points. This allows for easy comparison between Users at a high-level.

Comparing the Users experiences on key tasks allows you to identify key patterns or phenomenons. A phenomena occurs when only one person identifies a problem. A pattern occurs when more than three people experience it. User Interviews might have been part of the test, where some general questions about the product were asked at the end. Unlike the tasks performed as part of the scenarios, these are more subjective than objective. It does mean your report will have some qualitative as well as quantitative results. This gives a broader overview of your product and its potential pain-points.

Analysing The Data

The above only becomes clear when everything is compiled into a comprehensive report with expert analysis. Instead of reading the results of each test in isolation, the expert report gives a fuller picture. Something that you may have thought was a problem may not turn out to be an issue for your Users. Through collating everything into the report, effective recommendations can be suggested. These can be targeted to the key areas of the product identified by the test. Only through expert analysis and research can this be achieved.

3 people researching about usability testing in a meeting.

Sharing The Data

Once this final report is complete, with analysis and suggestions, it should not sit on the shelf. Otherwise the test was a waste of time. It needs to be distributed to key stakeholders. A presentation with key patterns and phenomena shown in a clear and concise manner is also useful. That way everyone can agree on what needs to be worked on to improve the product. This can be prioritised and tasks added to your sprint backlog. The beauty of the report is, you can back up the Design decisions being made. It is not one person’s opinion being used to determine where the changes are being made. Rather it is the opinion of real, unbiased Users.

The Usability Testing Cycle

Usability Testing shouldn’t happen once in a product’s lifecycle. When the Design changes have been implemented then another Usability Test should be conducted. This can validate the decisions taken and validate the Design. By conducting Usability Testing early and often, it saves money and time in the long-run. It ensures you are on the right track and have your Users’ needs in mind as you develop and grow your product. There are always ways to improve your offering. Usability Tests are windows into the minds of your Users and always have a place in your Design decisions.

Usability Testing delivers great rewards, but maybe this sounds like too much work, or hassle, for you. Don’t worry. We at Graphic Mint are experts at Usability Testing. We are happy to organise, run and report on the tests for you. More details on our packages can be found at UsabilityTesting.ie. If you need help with redesigning your product after conducting your test then check out our UX and UI services. We look forward with working with you soon.