The Myths and Realities of Usability Testing

Heard some horror stories about usability testing? Need someone to ease your concerns? Step into our office; we’re here and very happy to help!

  • 23 Apr 2019
  • Web Design, Testing
The Myths and Realities of Usability Testing

If you haven’t already embraced the wonder that is usability testing, we’re willing to wager that it’s probably because you’ve heard some of those pretty off-putting myths that seem to get thrown around at every opportunity. The reality is that so many of them simply aren’t true and we’re not going to lie, it makes us a bit sad to think of all the design projects that could have been so much more successful had a bit of usability testing been included in the process.

So, if we can have a few moments of your time, we’d like to do our bit to dispel those myths and (hopefully) convince you that usability testing is really great.

Myth: It’s SO expensive
Reality: OK, so in the spirit of honesty, it can be. BUT it really doesn’t need to be

Usability testing should never be thought of as an all-or-nothing thing. A bit of testing is a million times better than none at all. In fact, running a super short period of testing (even a single afternoon would work) with a few users at the very beginning of the design and development process can result in an array of important insights that will make your project infinitely more successful than it would otherwise have been.

Myth: You need LOADS of participants
Reality: 5 is Enough

Yep, seriously. Just 5. There’s even research to prove it. Unless you’re doing a quantitative study that requires a large amount of data, testing just 5 users actually delivers the best return on investment (ROI).

Myth: You need to be a usability testing whizz
Reality: If you can ask basic questions, you’ve got this

Fundamentally, all you really need to be able to do is ask people to complete a couple of tasks and listen to their responses. As you know your project inside out and back to front, there might be some weaknesses that you simply haven’t spotted yet that your testers will be able to point out.

Would it help to have a bit of usability testing knowledge? Sure. But if you’re prepared and know what kind of information you want to obtain from your testers, you’ll likely surprise yourself at just how much useful information and helpful insight you’ll gain from this process. And once you’ve conducted one usability test, you’ll have some important skills already in the bag for next time. You know what they say, life is a really long learning exercise!

Myth: It’s pointless to test existing websites
Reality: Are you kidding? This is a prime opportunity

What better prototype for your shiny new website could there possibly be than the site that already exists? Even if you want to start over completely from scratch, taking time to understand what does and doesn’t work about your existing design will help you to make the right decisions moving forwards. Conducting usability testing here might yield insights that you didn’t know about or simply hadn’t really considered before. And honestly, when it comes to usability, all information is useful information.

Want to learn more about usability testing? Give us a call, we’d love to chat more!