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How To Approach Usability Testing In Ux Design

By Author: Michael
Total Articles: 65

A lot of thought goes into designing a product. After the designing phase the product goes into development phase, where individual components or units are developed and tested for desired outcomes. However, more often than not the product is only checked from the perspective of developers and not the end users. In such a case, even though the product or application comes out looking fabulous, it might possess inherent flaws such as a poor user interface, lack of accessibility, delay in loading, slow scrolling, an unimaginative layout, erroneous content, etc. These flaws when faced by the end users end up as poor user experience. As there are many competitors of the product in the market, end users will not think twice before latching onto some other. This not only reduces the viability of the product, but also dents the brand image of the company producing it.

To avoid getting into such a situation in the first place, companies need to perform usability testing in UX design for the product or application. Usability testing involves testing of the product by its end users or customers. While testing, the behaviour of users using the product is keenly observed by testers and key areas where some difficulties are faced get noted down. The areas of concern are addressed later before releasing the product into the market thus increasing its market viability.

UX design or simply user experience design (also UX, UXD, XD, or UED) enables applications or products to work better for the end user. It includes designing a better user interface, incorporating cool ergonomics and delivering faster responsiveness such that the end user does not find any difficulty, while navigating or operating the product.

Best practices for usability testing
What is to be tested: The first step is to identify the application or a particular feature of the same that is to be tested. In a majority of cases, the whole application is tested for usability, accessibility and responsiveness.

Who should be tested: The second step is to identify specific users who are going to use the product for all practical purposes. The users should be chosen carefully as a wrong choice of users would be costly and time consuming – for the testers as well as users. For example, a medical app meant for doctors should not have laymen as users, but only medical professionals.

How many should be tested: A small group of end users should be asked to run the application, as it will be easier to observe them navigate and operate. They should be asked to ‘think out loud’ while navigating, so that the testers observing them can make informed choices about glitches. A large group will be unwieldy.

Who should watch the testing: It is important to involve all stakeholders during testing, as the difficulties faced by users will be visible to all. Unless the difficulties are observed in person, there are chances of them being lost in transmission or translation.


Michael Works for Gallop Solutions, it is a 10 year old, US based Colocated Independent Software Testing services Company with offices in Dallas and Philadelphia.

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