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How to Conduct Usability Testing

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Usability testing is a way of evaluating a website or an app by users. It means that real people will be assessing the resource’s usability under the supervision of developers. The goal of testing — to improve user experience, remove bugs and other unnoticed mistakes. In this way you will fix anything that can worsen user expression about your digital product. In this article we will tell you about how to perform usability testing. Why developers need it and the most efficient way to test any digital product.

Beforehand, you need to understand what type of project you will be testing. If you don’t know what you want to create — look for statistics and find your target audience. The mobile app market is growing rapidly. But if you want to create one, then you need to calculate the cost of the necessary resources. The cost to design a mobile app depends on different variables — you can calculate them by yourself.

Why Usability Testing is important

This type of testing is a necessity for any software developer or website builder. The goal of usability testing — is to check how the target audience interacts with the final product.

The developers perform it before and during the launch of the project. This type of testing allows you to find and fix major errors. After the evaluation process, you can collect feedback from real users.

When and how to conduct usability testing

It is important to do usability testing before, during and after redesign. You will know the effectiveness of new tools and approaches and understand the behavior of the target audience. With the knowledge of how to do a usability test you will improve or remove unnecessary elements from your project.

The methodology of usability testing consists of two types of research: generative and evaluative.

Generative — is a type of research used at the beginning of the design process. Here you will understand users’ behavior, pain points and motivation. What drives the audience to use your product? The goal of this research is to identify the problem and its solution.

Evaluative — shows you whether everything is working. During the research, users will be evaluating your work, testing the content and collecting data to improve the product.

Types of usability testing

There are a few main types and subtypes of usability testing:

  1. Simulated and non-simulated

In simulated testing users interact with the product in the presence of a moderation or UX designers. The specialist gives the user the task and may only ask a few questions for research purposes.

During non-simulated testing, all tasks are issued by an automated service that collects and processes data. Additionally, the service monitors the execution of a usability test process and collects the results.

  1. Quantitative and qualitative testing

Depending on the goal, you can select one of these two types.

Quantitative research provides results in numbers. For example, how many minutes did it take to complete the target action? Or: what percentage of respondents failed to complete it? To analyze the results of testing, the results are converted into percentages of the reference performance of the task. Creators convert the results according to the Nielsen method.

The rating scale has 3 options:

  1. The user coped with the task to order a product, find a service, or any other by himself — 100% completion of the task.
  2. The user was able to complete the task only with the help of a moderator — 50%.
  3. Could not complete at all — 0%.

Qualitative research — provides the result not in numbers, but in the form of information important for interpretation. Such data helps to understand the user’s thinking, to identify hidden problems. This study is conducted in a format of an interview, during which users will answer some pre-made questions. If you cannot or don’t want to create a testing model yourself you can use a ready-made one, for example, the Kano model. It will help not only to check how satisfied the user is with the product, but also what his expectations are.

Developers calculate points from survey results. They are ranked on a scale of expectations from “I like it” and “I expect it” to “I don’t like it and I can’t accept it”. After that, researchers builв a graph. It shows what exactly the audience considers:

  • the basic properties of the product — “this goes without saying”;
  • the main properties — “this is an advantage over competitors”;
  • admiring properties — “this is delightful”.

The Kano model of testing will also reveal what the user considers unimportant or unnecessary.

Steps of the usability testing process

There are five steps that will help to ensure best practice in usability testing:


The first step in usability testing is to understand why and what exactly you are checking. Do you want to test the functionality of an aesthetic part of your digital product? Prepare the following questions which will serve as checkpoints during the research.

Building a prototype

Objectives of usability testing are determined and conducted during the early stages of development. Building a prototype helps to test the app on its initial stages and define the issues. So, you won’t have any problems with the final product. That is why most companies build a prototype for this purpose. 


Find people to test your product. It can be your target audience — users who are trying to solve the problem or a team of developers. Track their actions and make notes about issues and their behavior during testing.


During the test, do not influence the users in any way. Their opinion should be independent. Form your questions in a neutral tone. For example, do not ask “Do you think that the push button is too bright?”, but “What do you think about the design of a push-button?”


After the test you need to make a full report based on users’ opinions. Summarize the result using questions during the test. It will be helpful in the later stages of product development.

How usability testing may help

With this type of testing you can:

  • create survey guidelines for future development;
  • to highlight issues of your project;
  • to minimize negative feedback when the digital product is launched. 

With planning ahead and having clear goals of what exactly your website or app should look or do. Usability testing methods help to perform a preliminary analysis of user behavior. It also can prevent further failure of your project.


Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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