Main Usability Analysis Methods to Use

We’ve been over these usability analysis methods before, and not even very long ago. There are a whole number of different analysis approaches used by developers and designers to fully ensure that a user experience is as bug free and as effective and positive to use as possible.

They all have their advantages and their drawbacks, but as I said before, many of them are convoluted and pretentious in both their naming and how they work. It’s best, with something like this, to adopt a method that’s not only minimalist, but also effective and very easy to come to terms with.

Simple functionality is the key with all things, usability analysis methods being no different. So, while a search online will show you a hundred methods for testing and analyzing usability, many of them are too complicated, and inefficient. We’re going to look at three that genuinely work even if they’re a bit less … fancy, as it were.

These may or may not be for everyone, but I see a lot of successful design and development studios use these somewhat plodding but very powerful techniques to great effect, where other, overly complicated ones cause problems rather than solve them.

#1 – Focus Group Testing

Focus group testing is used by pretty much everyone, no matter what. But, it’s a convention that usually comes later in development, during the alpha, beta and candidate phases of the design.

Gathering various members of a target demographic matching other key factors like age, culture, gender and mindset aspects, and having them perform tasks, putz around in the software, and just generally play with it under guidance is very effective.

But, you must be skillful in designing the questions and layout of your surveys to acquire feedback at the end. You might want to let a third party handle this, one which is a collection of competent experts in this kind if information gathering.

#2 – Task Testing

This one is handled earlier on, but is done during focus group testing as well. This is basically the repetition of a series of tasks that are expected to be performed by users, and doing a number of massively parallel specific analyses of the state of things during these tasks by different people.

These things include speed and comfort, benchmarking, integrity of the interface, and the application’s ability to effectively handle rapid heavy use with little respite.

#3 – Heuristic Error Testing

This one is all about thinking about possible misuse of the design, or coincidental combinations of problematic factors that could result in severe errors.

This will be done very often and by multiple people simultaneously, if you’re wise. Stay on errors, and as code is revised and ideas are further shaped into something effective and viable, then errors can creep in or fixes to existing ones can stop being effective.

Thus, it must be constantly watched and metered.

These are the most basic usability analysis methods that are most commonly used. They may not be complicated, and they may take more effort and resources, as well as a good deal more patience. But patience and diligence are much better to cope with than convolution and absurdity.

 bnr17

Jessica Miller
Jessica is the Lead Author & Editor of UsabilityLab Blog. Jessica writes for the UsabilityLab blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to usability.
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