Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Problem: Usability cannot be tested with a binary result!
Ever raised a bug entitled: “Rude and weird error message, if user …” or “System displays illogical behavior, when …”? I have, and often the case raises debate in either the development team or with the product owner / customer – Why? Because usability is not measured in binary, true or false, like functional requirements. One could argue if I understand it, then anyone will, while another argument could be you are not target audience for the application, hence this is not a problem – Guess what? Usability is very much my problem, as it will make or break the application.
Solution: Apply Heuristic evaluation as part of your test.
We frequently do usability studies of our applications, some of them being released to Mr & Ms Denmark, meaning that the average citizen will be subject to any usability deadlocks that we introduce. This is how I usually look at usability:
I prepare a test charter, and run an exploratory test session. The aim of the session is to execute one of the user stories, and the driver for evaluation are the heuristics. Not much rocket science in the approach, but it gives a nice structure, and well-defined approach, that ensure that you get good coverage in your usability test. When I have run a test session for all user stories applicable for a usability study, then I am done, and can use the results for a nice usability report, or just a bucket load of bugs for someone to fix.
If you want to go all in look for templates using dr. Google. There are many to pick from, but this one is nice: https://sites.google.com/site/superuserfriendly/templates/evaluation-heuristics-template
Have a nice day & Happy usability testing!