How often have you uninstalled an app solely because you did not like how it felt while using it? Or, you really needed to use the app, but figuring out how it works was so frustrating that you didn't want to use it anymore.
About Usability Testing
In the present context of the software development era, usability testing is a must to provide quality products and retain customers. This testing method helps to understand how users will interact with the software and measure the user's satisfaction. In other words, it tests how easy it is for any user to use your application.
Testers recreate real-life scenarios and use the application just like a normal user does while performing usability testing. You check the button's functionality, UI of the button, how it works, how easy it is to find that button and similar scenarios to ensure the application is user-friendly.
The purpose of usability testing is to understand how real users interact with the software. Usability testing helps identify areas that can be improved or removed for a better user experience. Keeping this in mind, Nielsen Norman Group has defined five quality components for usability testing. They are:
Ease of Learning
How quick can your user learn to use the application?
How fast can your user complete a task?
Can your user undo or redo their tasks when they make mistakes? Does your software provide a guide to solutions when the user makes mistakes?
How satisfied is your user with the overall experience while using the software?
How quick can your user remember or re-learn the workings of the software after not using it for an extended time?
Usability testing pinpoints the areas of frustration or confusion that helps in improving the overall experience of the software. Working on such inconveniences contributes towards the retention of existing users while building the target audience.
The Affecting Factors
Usability testing affects many aspects of a product's lifeline, such as its survival, growth, and death. Likewise, there are a few factors that affect the usability testing that you will be performing in any application.
One of the major factors that affect usability testing is the rate of task accomplishment. How skilled must your user be to complete a task? How simple is it to complete a single small task on the application? Can your target audience complete the task that they had in mind while opening your application?
A user's goal could be to register for an event on your site and book tickets. After the user navigates to that specific page to register, it should naturally come to them about their next step. If the user has to deep-dive to understand what comes next or repeatedly press a button to get to another page, you'll lose them right there due to irritation.
You have to test whether your application passes the readability test. Your product might not have pages full of content, yet simple words greatly affect the user's experience. This can be tested in icons and symbols as well.
For instance, home can be denoted by the words "home" or just the symbol that denotes home. However, if only a back symbol is displayed for the home, it would create confusion as a back symbol would normally depict going back to a previous page.
An app's spontaneous flow will result in effective customer retention than when an app is slow. We live in a fast-paced era, and we like apps that live at the same time as us as well. So, while performing usability testing, you must also give great attention towards its performance.
Testing the navigability of an application is as important as testing the functionality of the application. When users return from a page, they should be navigated to the page they were on before the current page. Directing the user to any other page would only baffle them about what's happening.
The first and foremost reason for performing usability testing is to provide users with a great experience and a level of satisfaction while using the application. Usability testing is important for customer retention. It might be unlikely to have a strong customer base because of a good user-friendly application. However, you will likely lose your clientele and won't stand a chance for customer retention if your application is not user-friendly.
Usability testing will bridge the gap between coders' and normal users' brains. By emphasizing the four factors mentioned above, you can easily identify any broken links or problems in the application's layout. An application doesn't become QA-approved because all the functionality tests are ticked with green checks. You have to analyze the condition in which the tests are executed.
For instance, functionality testing for login only checks scenarios that surround the "only valid credentials allow for successful login" statement. However, under usability testing, you must ensure the positioning of the buttons, the space allocated, the visibility and readability of the texts, and the ease of completion for any user. In short, usability testing can incorporate other areas of testing, such as functional testing, non-functional testing, integrated testing, unit testing, etc. Strategic use of usability testing will help you ensure the application's quality while considering the value of the end user.
Summarizing, your application will follow a downhill path if it doesn't give clear answers to "What do I do next ?", "What does this represent?" and "Where will this take me?". Hence, usability testing is needed to ensure that the app provides good UX and customer retention.
Why Prioritize Usability Testing?
With millions of applications being developed monthly, users have many options to choose from. This means it will not take long for a user to abandon your application if it doesn't suit their preference. Irrespective of the brand or company behind the application, any user is a click away from choosing an alternative option.
This is why usability testing is needed now more than ever before. Building a product around your target audience and catering to their needs will give your business a pushing hand to success. However, the opposite will likely result in a disaster.
Any application developed should revolve around its target user. The reputation and image of the brand and the UX experienced by the end users go side by side. The major concern of usability testing is ensuring the software is usable and meets the target users' basic requirements. A functional, usable, and easy-to-work-around software will help increase positive reviews and feedback that can always work in your favour by pulling new clients towards it.
Hope this blog changed your mind about Usability Testing if you had any doubts before. Subscribe for more!