What is it?
In a usability testing session, the team observes real users interacting with the product. Typically, a facilitator sits with a user and asks her to complete tasks and explain her thinking as she goes. The team sits in a separate room and observes the testing by video.
A usability test is not a focus group; it’s focused on what the user thinks and does in the real world.
A usability test can be run on an existing product, a prototype, or even a competitor’s product! The prototype could be working code, or it could be something as simple as a few clickable images. Test early and often to create products that delight users and solve real needs.
Why use it?
- Something that’s obvious to someone who has been working on a product might be confusing to a user.
- What we think users need might not be what they actually need.
- What users think they need may not be what they actually need!
- Usability testing can help answer questions such as, “Are we on the right track?”, “What problems do we need to solve?”, or “Which features should we build first?”
- With early feedback from real users, teams can avoid sinking time into a feature that’s confusing or not useful.
- Watching real people use a product builds empathy and understanding - which is why it’s important to include the entire team.