Routinely gather new product feedback

Our usability testing workflow can help your research team source consistent, valuable feedback on important products and projects

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How is usability testing different from user testing?

The difference between usability testing and user testing boils down to “can they use?” versus “do they need to use?”.

User testing primarily occurs before a product has been created to determine if the demand for it exists and to inform/inspire the team as to what a finished product might look like. User testing might involve asking questions such as “if there were an app, tool, or system that did this task for you, would you use it?”.

Conversely, usability testing determines if a product is usable by its intended market. Usability testing typically occurs after user testing and after one or more prototypes have been created. It’s a much more practical exercise that surveys how individuals use the product in order to understand how quickly users grasp its purpose and whether or not they can use it as intended.

What is a usability test plan?

A usability test plan is an outline for how a usability test will be conducted. Its purpose is to organize the process, goals, and findings of a usability test for a product, feature, tool, or software.

A test plan predominantly focuses on interview logistics. Since time tends to be limited with those being interviewed, it’s important for the usability testing itself to be efficient and for researchers to go in with a clear understanding of what to do and how to do it. A usability testing plan is the best way to align the team and obtain as much valuable information and feedback as possible. You can get started with this free usability testing template.

What are the limitations of usability testing?

While usability tests show how your product might be used by new or existing customers, it’s not a perfect process. The limitations of usability testing include:

  • A smaller sample size.
  • A large investment of time, money, and resources.
  • ​​Limited qualitative feedback in place of a large amount of quantifiable data.
  • Risk of confirmation bias or unconscious bias against participants.
  • ​​A potentially incomparable environment for when/how/if the product would be used.

What to include into a usability testing template?

The contents of a usability testing template will vary for each product and project, but some universal usability testing template elements — all of which are featured in our template — include:

  1. Scope of work overview. Describe the goals of the research, the interview format, the ideal pool of interviewees, and the product being tested.
  2. Pre-interview logistics. Use this section to explain how and where the interview will be conducted, how participants will be sourced, and who will be responsible for facilitating.
  3. Interview logistics. This section should walk through the actual usability test with the participant. Write out the step-by-step process for how the interview will progress, as well as scripted prompts for facilitators to use to address participants.
  4. Post-interview logistics. Explain the breakdown of what happens after each interview to share notes and set up for the next one.
  5. Insights gathering. Outline how the data will be summarized, presented, and acted on for future iterations of the product.

What are some usability test interview question examples?

Examples of questions asked in a usability test are:

  • Can you tell me why you just did what you did?
  • Did you consider doing it this way? If so, why didn’t you?
  • What was the most frustrating part of this experience for you?
  • In real life, would you see yourself using this product? If so, how?
  • What do you think was the most inventive part of what you saw today?

What’s the best way to document a usability testing plan?

Since there are many steps to a usability testing plan, utilizing Qatalog’s workflows allows you to automate the process for the future — when you come back to test another element of the product.

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