Resources for Learning About Usability Testing

I recently stumbled upon the website Usability.gov and was surprised to learn that the site is managed by the Digital Communications Division in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office.

The site offers a wealth of resources to learn more about user experience (UX) best practices and other UX disciplines like Information Architecture (IA), User Interface Design, Interaction Design (IxD), and Accessibility. This user-centered design process map is great step-by-step guide to website development from this perspective. As the page notes, “the type of site you are developing, your requirementsteam, timeline, and the environment in which you are developing will determine the tasks you perform and the order in which you perform them.”

From a testing perspective, uTest University offers several courses to help you get started with Usability Testing beginning with The Basics of Usability Testing for Desktop and Web Apps. This course covers the basics of usability testing, including what it is, why it’s needed, and basic implementation and execution details. In an Introduction to uTest Usability Testing, you will gain an understanding of how to participate in Usability test cycles when you are invited to them.

The course includes these four tips from a usability expert:

1. Ease of Access: The most important aspect for usability for web is “Accessibility.” Is the site accessible with ease? The website should be accessible to everyone; it should not matter what group of users they fall into. If the website does not handle this aspect, then no matter how good the content is on your site, no one would like to have a look.

2. Clarity of Communication: Every website has a purpose behind it and the user should be informed about that. The user should be informed about the business, and all the relevant information necessary to entice the user to trust it when they visit it.

3. Content: The important portion for any website is the content it holds. The content should be clear and easy to understand for the user, and should speak to the level of the users that you want visiting. The home page of the website should have balance of content and design, and the required information or links that the user might like to have access to. From any underlying webpage of the site, the user should have an option to be quickly sent back to the main page.

4. Navigation: Navigation is another important aspect for any website. The type of navigation does not matter, whether they fall into one-tier, two-tier or even three tiers, but it should be easily accessible. There is always a way out for the user to get back to the home page from any part of the site.

Finally, we have a Tester Best Practices for Usability Sessions course for more guidance on how to provide feedback when participating in a Usability Testing session, as well as quick tips for a UX session capture. Just remember: usability sessions are not testing you as a person. It tests the app or website so all feedback – including negative – is a critical part of the data that is collected during these sessions.  

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