Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Collecting valuable metrics, part of UX Foundations: Usability Testing.
- Before you run a usability study, you really need to know what you're trying to find out. Different types of answers you need will require different types of participant tasks within the study. You might have general questions, like how well can people work with the shopping pages on your site? Or you might have specific questions, like how long it takes someone to find your contact information if they need to call you. Knowing how you'll use the answers you get from a usability study to improve the product ensures that you ask the right questions in a measurable way.
There's nothing worse than finishing a usability test and then realizing you can't do much with the findings. Doing the plumbing up front means that you can move straight from the usability test findings to making positive changes to your product. When we get people to perform tasks with the product, we can capture three distinct types of metrics. Efficiency, that's how long it took them to do the task. Effectiveness, which is how many errors they made. And satisfaction, how they felt about the task, frustrated or happy with the outcome.
Pretty much any question you want to answer will fall into one of these three categories. Also, you'll soon find that it's pretty easy to plug the dollar values into each of these answers. For instance, a certain number of errors will lead to abandonment, which has a defined cost. Some errors will lead to people calling the help desk, which has an average cost per call. High satisfaction leads to people telling others about their good experiences, which has a knock-on effect on sales. Conversely, low satisfaction ends up with lower engagement.
And so, less revenue from a repeated sales or ad impressions, for instance. Being able to define problems in terms of their relative cost gives you a good reason to fix them and also a way to prioritize which ones to work on first. Frustrating user issues with a high dollar value that have quick and easy fixes are the first things most teams work on because it gives them the most return on their effort. These measures of usability come in very handy when you're doing cost-benefit analysis for any set of features or bug fixes you want to implement.
The data from your usability studies can help you prioritize future work items based on user need and potential dollar value.
- What is usability testing?
- Finding the right participants
- Making a screener
- Asking the right questions
- Avoiding bias
- Making a task list
- Creating the test environment
- Running a pilot study
- Moderating sessions
- Capturing real-time observations
- Analyzing and reporting your results