Back to Blog

Usability Testing for Product Design

Product Design Usability Testing

Usability testing is essential to Product Development and the UX Design process. It helps designers to ensure products are easy-to-use and intuitive. Here, teams identify improvement areas by getting products tested by real people. In turn, they gain valuable insights into users' product interaction. Today, we'll explore usability testing in detail. This article will include what it is, why it's essential, and how to conduct your tests!

What is Usability Testing?

Usability Testing assesses how easy-to-use a website or app is, involvingtesting for UX-related feedback. It helps designers identify hardships that could affect the final product. With it, teams can make changes to improve usability before the product goes live.

Through Usability Testing, UX designers uncover improvement-needing areas to focus on what features users may need clarification or help using. Usability tests have three stages: planning, execution, and analysis. First, UX designers define what they want to test and who will be part of the test. Second, designers lead parties through tasks while recording actions. Last, during analysis, designers review test results. Then, they decide where the UX needs optimization.

Keep in mind that designers use specialized software to run usability tests. Some examples enclose Maze, UserTesting, UserFeel, and UsabilityHub. These allow getting valuable insight into user behavior to ensure engagement. Also, teams need to stay flexible when conducting these tests. Many variables can change the final results. For instance, age and gender are edges to consider.

"Usability is about people and how they understand and use things, not about technology." – Steve Krug.

Types of Usability Testing

1. Qualitative and Quantitative Testing

Qualitative Testing involves watching users' interactions with a product. With this testing procedure, they can answer UX-related questions. What actions do users take during their interactions? How do users react when faced with specific features? Through these, designers get an idea of user behavior patterns. As a result, decision-making has more real users' data. 

Contrariwise, Quantitative Testing have more structure than qualitative ones. The former aims to measure specific aspects of a product's performance. It often involves designing tasks to study how users would complete them. With the data gathered from it, teams can know if certain features need improvement. Both testing strategies are complementary to engage usability. 

2. Remote and In-Person Testing

When running a usability test, designers can choose whether to do it remotely or in person. Nonetheless, both aim to answer questions about UX. Often, in-person tests take place in usability labs. Here, teams can watch user interaction live. This technique allows getting real-time feedback directly from users. Yet, it's worth noting that these run in controlled environments. If designers want accurate feedback, they move tests to real-life settings.  Remote usability tests use online tools or platforms. Further, it can take two primary forms: moderated and unmoderated. In the former, a researcher scans test sessions via video conferencing. In the latter, there is no real-time interaction with any research team member. 

Principles of Usability Testing

1. User-Goal Focus. Usability tests should have user-specific goals in mind. Here, teams gather insights to delve into how users achieve tasks and goals.

2. Realistic Scenarios. For a usability test to succeed, it needs, indeed, realistic scenarios. That's key to accurately reflecting the use of a product or service. Contrariwise, tests made under artificial conditions don't recall the actual UX. A synthetic approach can harm conclusions and launch. It's always vital to ensure precise results. That's why usability testing should include representative target samples when possible. This edge is relevant when testing users across demographics.

3. Metrics' Measurement. Before starting with measurement, it's important to iterate. Usability testing processes need several rounds to address all issues. Once all corners get covered, teams dive into performance measuring. This procedure involves completion rate, accuracy, and task duration. After measuring, identifying issues is more manageable.

Usability Testing Measurement

1. Reviewing. The first step is to review all data, observations, notes, and media recordings. It gives a comprehensive view of the product's usability from scratch. 

2. Identifying. Usability Tests look for patterns in the primary gathered data. Here, teams may meet different issues or problems users encounter. Identifying patterns helps to know which areas to improve. 

3. Categorizing. After acknowledging patterns, teams put the data into categories. These can be navigation, content, layout, and so on. It eases analyzing and understanding issues within the whole experience. 

4. Analyzing. With all data recognized and categorized, teams analyze it to know the root of all issues. This step is vital to see how the user flow creates category correlations.

5. Reporting. Usability Testing uses data reports to summarize teams' findings. With these reports, teams can look deeper into changes or improvements. 

6. Sharing. The last step encloses sharing all info with stakeholders and PMs. As a result, all the information will help install changes taking all sides' viewpoints. 

It's important to remember that usability testing is an ongoing process. Hence, test results also help future iterations of the product. A usability testing approach focuses on Continuous Improvement to meet users' needs. Plus, it saves teams and businesses time and money.

Usability Testing Techniques

As a whole, usability testing is a group of methods to check. These focus on understanding a product's effectiveness. So, here are some examples of usability testing techniques.

1. A/B Testing. This technique involves presenting two versions of a product or feature to users. The goal is to compare how they use each version. Thus, it helps to identify what option is more effective. 

2. Card Sorting. Here, users get cards to illustrate various elements. They must organize those into groups that make sense to them. It helps teams to know how users interact with features within a product. 

3. Focus Groups. In focus groups, teams bring a group of users together to discuss their experience with a product. It's an effective way to gather qualitative data about user behaviors and expectations. 

4. Heuristic Evaluation. Another technique is heuristic evaluation, which involves a test run by a usability expert. Here, it establishes usability principles, known as heuristics. With it, specialists can identify usability issues and suggest ways to improve the UX.

5. User Testing. This test is about real users achieving tasks in controlled environments. Researchers record users' behavior and get valuable insights into user interaction.

Benefits of Usability Testing

Usability testing is crucial for UX Design while also having several benefits!

1. Satisfaction  Usability testing helps identify areas where product steps may confuse users. In this way, teams can make edits to increase user satisfaction. 

2. Efficiency. When a product is easy to use, it saves users time and effort, leading to increased efficiency. This characteristic is essential for daily-used products or those with many features. 

3. Experience. Usability Testing allows Product Teams to understand how users perceive a product. As a result, they can enhance the overall UX (User Experience). 

4. Conversions. An easy-to-use product is likelier to hold users and turn them into customers. A relevant case is eCommerce platforms. These need smooth and intuitive processes to increase sales. 

5. Savings. Knowing and fixing usability issues in the early stages saves time and resources. Further, correcting problems before launching ensures savings after it. 


Now, we got an idea of Usability Testing and why it's so powerful in UX Design! This approach fits significantly if you want to take your products to the next level! Yet, remember that it's a continuous process to cut roadblocks in design processes. Don't stop at one test!