Usability Testing: Why is it Important and How to Conduct It?

Before, during, and after the release of a certain app, its creators will usually run a couple of tests in order to figure out whether the users will have a hard time using the app or not.

Among the variety of tests, worth mentioning is usability testing. This particular test is a method through which an app’s (or website’s) readiness for release is evaluated. Naturally, the test is done with real users that are part of the app’s target audience.

Usability tests are done with the purpose of measuring the relative ease with which a variety of users can complete a set of tasks that a usual user of the app (website) would need to complete.

The Importance of Usability Testing

So, as we mentioned before, usability testing is meant to help the creators of an app understand how future real users will interact with their product and, based on the results of the testing, make changes that will improve the said usability.

Obviously, the app must have a high usability testing score, or else people will stop using it and find alternatives. After all, if your app is not easy to navigate on and some of its basic tasks are hard to complete, it is unlikely that you’ll have users sticking to it, so to say.

On the other hand, even an app or a website with a high usability score can – and should – still run usability tests. Further tests can reveal if the app has any trouble spots that the users face (such as parts of the app that make them confused or get stuck while performing a task) and improve their situation.

The Components of Usability Testing

When running a usability test, there will be two groups of active participants, namely the observers and the users. Naturally, in order to gain more objective data, the two groups should not know one another.

The observers will set a series of tasks for the users, which they’ll have to complete under controlled conditions. While the users perform the tasks, the observers will watch and measure their overall success, by either taking notes or recording a video/ audio session.

Conducting a Usability Test

A usability test can be conducted via card sorting, in-person testing, remote testing, or A/B testing. The one we are interested in the most is the A/B testing, as it does not involve simulated observation or experiences.

In short, the creator will make available two live variations of their app and send half of the traffic to each variation. Their goal is to measure which of the two variations had a higher conversion rate during the usability test.

There are other ways of testing the usability of an app as well. For example, anyone with an interest in retrieving certain data, so to say, can run a personal usability test.

How to Conduct a Usability Test?

As mentioned, one of the most basic ways to do a usability test – that anyone can use, be them a single individual or a larger corporation – is to interview several users that are actively using the app.

For example, if someone wanted to find out if Buzzoid followers were real or not, they could simply just ask some of those followers a series of question in regard to how they are using the Instagram app.

There are more than just a few case studies done on Instagram usability testing out there, each of them showcasing the methods used to identify whether a certain user was using the app like it was designed to or if they were just a bot.

When interviewing the users, so to say, you’ll have to pay attention to what a normal user would achieve after using the app, namely efficiency, learnability, memorability, satisfaction, and errors.

Depending on the answers or by analyzing the user’s behavior, you can determine whether there’s a real person behind a certain Instagram account, for example, or if someone decided to buy Instagram followers and created an account with inflated statistics.

Final Thoughts

In the end, usability testing is all about finding whether users have a hard time using a certain app or not. This can be measured by conducting various intricate, so to call them, tests or by simply interviewing the users.

Naturally, the latter might give you a bit more insight on the aspects of your app that you have to work on and improve – as well as data to determine if the users are real or not.

In short, usability testing is an important part of the app development process, as it can help its creator know which features have to be improved and which ones have to be removed completely.

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