Usability Testing - Usability Testing is the assessment of a product or service's effectiveness and
efficiency as viewed by a specified group of users. It is customer-focused and based upon actual product/service trial.
Usability Testing is most frequently employed with Web site testing, but is also used for myriad other applications such as
assembly instructions, packaging use, product preparation and other consumer-based actions. Usability testing is a technique
for ensuring that the intended users of a system can carry out the intended tasks. During a Usability Test, feedback is
gathered to improve product design. The immediate result of a Usability Test is a list of specific recommendations as to how
to improve the product. Usability Testing is done in a Usability Lab. Although actual lab designs may vary, Usability Labs
tend to have the following in common: There are usually two rooms, one for the Observer(s) and one for the Participant(s).
A one-way mirror separates the rooms so that the Observer can view the Participant unobtrusively. The Observer side is where
the Usability Engineer and other observers may view the study. The one-way mirror allows observers to clearly see the
participant side during the study, while minimizing any distractions for the participant. The wall and the one-way mirror are
sound-proofed so that observers can converse without disturbing the participant. The Participant side of the lab is designed
to simulate an environment appropriate to the product or service being tested. For example, if a Web site is being tested
there will be a desk and chair set up with a computer, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. There are at least two cameras that
can be positioned at virtually any angle by the engineer on the Observer side. Cameras are used to record the participant's
expressions and movements while participating in the actions required. Microphones and speakers allow for communication
between the two rooms but are in the control of the Observer side. Usability Testing not only provides a disaster check, but
also, when properly employed, can provide direction for appropriate product design and marketing.
Website usability testing tool Testing Master would be very useful if you want to launch new websites or intranet applications.
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