Usability Evaluation Activities
The goal of Usability Testing is to identify
challenges and opportunities.
- Challenges identify portions of a development where significant improvements
should be made.
- Opportunities identify omissions from a development where significant
additions should be made.
Usability Testing cannot determine how good a system is because there
are no standard metrics for use in usability testing. However, quantitative
usability requirements can form the basis for metrified usability tests.
Usability Testing can be used to:
- evaluate existing systems
- evaluate competitive systems
- evaluate designs / prototypes of proposed new systems
- evaluate systems or portions of systems that have newly been constructed
- compare systems to identified usability requirements
- compare systems (usually qualitatively)
- compare alternate designs of a feature (usually qualitatively)
USER Lab customizes its usability tests to meet the application specific
requirements of the users of the tests.
Evaluation techniques may include:
- free form exploration of systems/designs or portions of systems/designs
- free form attempts to accomplish certain tasks
- scenario driven explorations
Evaluations may be conducted by various test subjects, including:
- expert evaluators - can provide quick identification of obvious challenges
- potential users - people with similar characteristics to intended users
can be used to approximate real users, where real users are not available
- real users - can provide more customized evaluations of how the product
will actually be used and perceived
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