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Lab Usability Test

Usability test measures a user’s ability to complete tasks. Usability test is essential while optimizing User Interface Designs and work flows, understanding user’s voice, and understanding what users really do.  During a Usability test, a user attempts to complete a task or a set of tasks that has specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specific context of use. The product under test can be a website, software or a service.

Usability Lab test is conducted by a user centric design or human factors expert who is supported by a note taker. Stakeholders (business owners, engineers, developers, web analysts, product managers, or anyone who has something to do with the product or user experience) participate as observers and their job is to get a clear understanding of the user experience.

Usability test is normally held in a specially designed usability lab. The specialty of this lab is that, it is divided by a one-way mirrored window which allows observers to watch the test without being noticed by the test subject.

A test moderator observes the user while they perform their tasks. Moderator takes the notes about user’s actions and records whether the participant is able to complete the task in a specific time frame and by taking what steps. Participants speak out their mind while performing the tasks. This way, the moderator will come to know what was the user expecting and what emotions the user was going through while performing a particular task. Moderators make non-judgmental comments and do not assist the participants as if they were to perform the task from the home or office.

All this time, the note-taker is busy noting the comments and important points made by the user while performing the tasks. At times, observers get the chance to interact with the participant and they can ask more questions to them. Lab usability test is recorded in the form of video for later review and to present it to a larger audience in the company.

Usability test is best for optimizing user interface designs, work flows, understanding the voice of the user and understanding what users really do.

I will discuss about Conducting the Usability Test, tips while conducting the test, its benefits, etc. sometime in the next couple of weeks.

See Also

user experience

What is User Experience?

Ux Privacy

UX: Privacy

UX Glossary

UX Glossary

mobile ux

Improving Mobile UX

user delight

Achieving User Delight

Understanding Users

Understanding the Users

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