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Jul 2007

Usability Testing Protocol

A usability testing protocol is a document that describes how to conduct usability testing. It’s also the spring board for discussions between Yu Centrik and client’s product teams.

The main goal of testing products with users is to identify usability issues encountered by users when using a product.

Through usability testing, Uability experts can observe how the user interacts with the product, evaluate how user-friendly it is and identify which functions were easier to use and which ones were more difficult.

Testing objectives are established at the onset and evaluated through scenarios developed with the Client.

During usability testing, participants are asked to do a number of specified tasks while explaining, out loud, exactly what they are doing as they accomplish the different scenarios. When the focus is on performance metrics then Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA) is best.

A user-profile defining the caracteristics of participants needed for testing is developed with the Client. Recruited participants should be representative of the product’s target client segment and include a sufficient number of people.

­ On the day of the test, the participant is welcomed into Yu Centrik’s offices.The moderaror explains the process and what they will be asked to do.
Each testing session lasts 60 minutes with the exception of eye tracking tests which can last 90 minutes.

The participant works through each task scenario individually and discuss as he goes along or after completing each scenario. The moderator listens and asks follow-up questions while an observer takes notes. Each session is filmed and client representatives observe in real-time.

Qualitative data is also gathered after each task in order to understand the motivations, perceptions and experience of the user. Data is then compiled, summarized and analysed.

A report on the test results, including an analysis of the results and recommendentations, is submitted and presented to the Client.

When possible, usability experts find it useful to follow-up on recommendations made because it gives them a chance to ensure that they were properly understood.

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