Recent studies demonstrate that comprehensive usability testing can have at least a 10x return on investment, especially when discoveries and improvements lead directly to more user traffic, higher conversions, greater revenue per transaction, more frequent return visits, lower phone and email support costs, fewer returns, and faster transaction.
All of these outcomes are possible, and your competitors may be conducting their own user testing now – and those competitors are only as far away as a few clicks or a simple abandonment by your site visitors.
Key requirements for success at Usable include the following – and these are the best ways to get at insights that you won’t find any other way:
- Direct, objective observation of real people and your usability in real-world situations, in real-time
- Those observations must be based on preferred outcomes for the users and your business
- The observations are best conducted like an anthropologist – in the wild, in the field, which means users’ homes or offices, or even on the street and on the go
- Observe what real people DO, as well as listen to what they SAY – it’s often not the same
- Observations must be analyzed and translated into clear action-oriented implications and recommendations
- Your team, partners, designers should actively participate in all usability studies
What you’ll learn here will ensure your systems, tools, products, teams, processes, interactions, and interfaces – anything that comes in contact with the real people that you serve – must make sense to them, be easy to navigate, allow them complete key tasks, and guide them to the outcomes you’ve designed for them – and invested so much in. All these factors and much more comprise effective usability.
The only way to effectively validate usability and ease of use is by profiling, targeting, recruiting, and actively testing the tasks that real people must successfully complete in real-world situations – and the only way to do this is through direct, scientific, rigorous, and objective observation of those users attempting those tasks. This process is the only way to test and validate the preferred outcomes you’ve defined for your users and your business.
To accomplish this critical and detailed insight into usability, you’ll get to test users and tasks in controlled labs as well as their home or office native environment, using well defined and specific test platforms, and the unpredictable and essential local PCs, operating systems, browsers, applications, internet connections, and the entire complexity of the actual native context where real people try to interact with you.
Without this usability-focused methodology, without observing what real people DO, and listening to what they SAY – because what human beings do and what they say are often totally inconsistent – there is no other way to uncover and characterize the immediate user experience challenges, barriers, friction, and confusion. Discovering those failures leads to specific, action-oriented implications and recommendations for improvements and permanent fixes.
All essential members of your team – I.T., web, e-commerce, marketing, support, executive staff, product management – can and should participate and observe real time. This cross functional team share in defining the tasks, identifying the implications of users’ struggles, debrief on how to adapt task structure real-time, and can insert questions or additional tasks during test sessions. Most importantly, they share in the recommendations and action plans for improving the user experience.