Usability Testing - Software, Techniques & Tools

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softwares used for usability testing
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File this one under must read. Cre8 explore usability tools and methods, something that i must admit, like many i suspect, to not paying enough attention to...

Listed in the discussion are a couple of software sets for usability testing such as:

Kim Krause goes on to add her thoughts, more tuned to the webmaster on a budget. Including general feedback, in the way of feedback forms and email, before James goes on to list some worthwhile reads:

All in all, it's a cracking read and a mine of useful information and good conversation on the general subject.

Im ashamed to say that if i ever consider usability testing at all, it's only to ask friends and family to carry out tasks on a website, and then work from their feedback...

Comments

if it ain't broken...

Nick, I've done the works of it for several years now: Focus groups, user testing, online and offline surveys, traffic measurement, tracking, reading and producing a bunch of theory as well as results, redesigning and tweaking numerous flows as well as whole sites, participating in conferences and so on..

Im ashamed to say that if i ever consider usability testing at all, it's only to ask friends and family to carry out tasks on a website, and then work from their feedback...

I can honestly say that you are already using the very best method there is!

Knowing all the "high brow" concepts, i'd say it's really simple. You don't need any of that (well, of course "you" do... "you" need it BADLY... and "me and my friends" would like to sell it of course *lol*)

Actually you only need three things:

1) To be open to all kinds of feedback, and actively ask
2) To listen actively when the answers come in
3) To act upon the information you get (and then ask again)

Item two requires you to be able to filter what you hear. This is what "me and my friends" charge the high bucks for (as well as being dang good at asking the right questions in the right way). Some things are more important than others, and some people say more than others (including, but not limited to, what they think you would like to hear). It all has to be judged in relation to the main success criteria and target group(s) of the site. So, apply common sense.

You don't need all that expensive equipment, really. The "friends and family" approach is in fact very strong if you know how to make use of it - you know a lot about these people in advance, which makes it way easier to project their statements and preferences towards almost any target group.

It's like working with "personas" (which is another high brow technique) - only, these "personas" are for real, and you can actually ask them stuff.

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