3 Usability Lies to Ignore

There has been a lot written on website and software usability, from both experts and laymen alike. Unfortunately, some of this information is false and often misleading. The topic of web usability is prone to false stories and tales, and it’s important to get the right advice in order to succeed.

Today, I’d like to talk about some of these usability lies and expose the truth behind them.

1. Usability Testing Takes too Long and is Insanely Costly

This is entirely not true. The plain truth is that with modern usability testing tools you can create and share a test in as little as a few minutes. Gone are the days when running a basic UX test used to be a day long process. If your time is really limited, you should test the most important tasks. Just check which task your users perform most often, this will guide you where to start. Experts recommend that one should start with the home page or landing pages before proceeding to other pages. Of course this can be done in a matter of minutes.

And for those who believe that usability testing is a costly affair, note that that is incorrect. Usability is not a luxury nowadays; in fact, UX testing can be relatively affordable. You don’t really need those expensive prototypes; simple paper prototype test can also bring you some good results. Again, you don’t need a large number of participants. You can actually start off with 5 users to test for specific tasks. Recruitment can be done the guerilla style, if you’re on a tight budget that is.

2. My Site is Fool-Proof, I Don’t Need Usability Testing

Again this myth is entirely false. There’s nothing like a perfect site out there in the world. Even the most well-though out sites need some tweaking here and there to perform better. Besides that, usability testing gives you the opportunity to take note of UI problems on time so you can get them fixed on time. This could in turn save you lots of costs and time. That’s not all, as according to recent statistics, usability testing is the single most effective decision making tool that any website owner can ever wish to consult.

Good user experience is all you need, for instance, to optimize your conversion paths or booking process. You can test the effectiveness of your page layouts, creative approaches and calls to action without breaking a sweat – all thanks to UX testing. What’s more? Producing content for your website can be quite expensive. But thanks to user testing, you can save on content budget by only posting what matters most to your target audience. So don’t let one fool you that your website is perfect and that it does not need UX testing. There is always something to tweak here and there and only comprehensive testing will tell you exactly what that is in your case.

3. Users Don’t Really Care about UX Testing

This is partially true, although misleading. I think it’s fair to say that users of a site don’t care about the technical checks and background of how it got to its current form. With that said, however, users do indeed like it when they visit and feel appreciated and welcome. Testing helps users feel involved in the development of the site, and builds up loyalty. If users feel that you are not responding to their needs, they’ll want to desert you and move on to your competitors who care about their experience.

In a period of time when switching from one website to another is pretty simple, building passion and brand loyalty is the best thing any website owner can do to keep their site going strong. This is the bare bones, which you then add flesh to – in line with the feedback you constantly receive – over time.

By crafting amazing experiences for the person who uses your services, big companies such as Walt Disney have achieved immense loyalty. That is why many people love to watching the likes of Minnie Mouse and Goofy. User experience testing allows you to pair a positive emotional experience with your product. Companies that care about user experience tend to be very successful in inspiring lots of trust and cultish loyalty from their users. So, let no one mislead you that your users don’t care about user experience.

There are quite a few other usability lies trending out there. But you don’t need to listen to them. Be sure to do this test soon to avoid any nasty surprises further down the track.


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.