Usability Testing User Experience (UX) topic overview/definition


Usability Testing: Concept Definition

Usability testing is the practice of testing how easy a design is to use on a group of representative users. It usually involves users being observed as they attempt to complete tasks and can be done on different types of designs, from user interfaces to physical products. It is often conducted repeatedly, from early development until product release.

The main benefit and purpose of usability testing is to identify usability problems with a design as early as possible, so they can be fixed before the design is implemented or mass produced. As such, usability testing is often conducted on prototypes rather than finished products, with different levels of fidelity (i.e. detail and finish) depending on the development phase. Prototypes tend to be more primitive, low-fidelity versions (e.g. paper sketches) during early development and more detailed, high-fidelity versions (e.g. interactive digital mock-ups) closer to release.

In a typical usability test, a test moderator gives test participants a series of tasks that they must perform with the design. The tasks represent actions that an end user would typically carry out with the finished product. During the test, the moderator observes the participant’s actions, often also recording the test session on video. After analyzing the results of a usability test, the moderator reports on several things including the aspects of the design that caused problems the severity of these problems, as well as places in the design that the participants particularly liked.

For your convenience, we’ve collected all UX literature that deals with Usability Testing. Here’s the full list: