Subscribe by Email

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What are different characteristics of usability testing?

Usability testing can be defined as a technique which is used in the interaction design centered around the user for evaluation of a software system, application or product by testing it out on the software product users. This can be thought of as an irreplaceable practice of usability. It is considered as irreplaceable usability practice because it generally gives direct report on how the real users use the software system or application or the product.

From the mentioned things, we can say that the usability testing is highly in contrast with inspection methods for usability.

- In usability inspection methods the experts seem to use several different methods to evaluate and check a GUI or graphical user interface without the involvement of the real users.
- The main focus of the Usability testing is on measuring a software system’s or product’s capacity of achieving its aim and objectives made by humans.

Best examples of the software systems or products that are commonly benefited from usability testing are the web sites and the web applications, the computer user interfaces, documents, databases and devices.

- The Usability testing usually measures the usability i.e., to say the ease of use of some specific object or group of many objects.
- However, the general human- computer interaction is different from this in the way that the human – computer interaction makes the attempts to formulate the principles of the universe.
- Usability testing is basically a black box testing methodology.
- It aims at observing people using the software system, product or application in their own way and discovering new errors and bugs.
- They can also find some ways for the improvement of the software system or the application.

Usability tests determine how well the output comes from the following 4 fields when tested with usability testing test cases:

1. Efficiency or the performance
It includes how much time the software system is taking to respond? In how many the software system is completing the assigned task?

2. Accuracy:
It includes determining the number of mistakes the users make? And were they recoverable or they caused the software system failure?

3. Recall:
It includes determining what the user remembers afterwards i.e., after the time of usage or after the periods of non- usage.

4. Emotional response:
It involves determining the level of satisfaction of the users about the completed tasks? Does the confidence level of person has increased or decreased? Is the user stressed? Is the user confident enough to recommend this software application to others?

Some people have a misconception of usability testing.
- They think that simply collecting opinions on some software system or documentation is called usability testing.
But this is absolutely wrong.

- Gathering of opinions on some object is simply called qualitative research or market research.
- It’s important to clear up the concept of the usability testing.
- It can be though of as a testing involving systematic observation under certain conditions which are controlled by experts.
- This is done basically to have an understanding about how people use that particular software system or application.
- But usually usability testing is used in combination with qualitative research. - This helps in better understanding of user’s expectations.
- It involves watching people use that software system or the product for its intended objective.
- For carrying out a successful usability test, one needs to create a realistic environment where the user or the tester is required to perform the tasks which can be performed by the software system and the observers watch the testing and record the results and the observations.
- Other forms of feedback are also gathered like pre and post test questionnaires, scripted instructions, customer feed back and paper prototypes etc.

No comments:

Facebook activity