Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a list of participant attributes, part of UX Foundations: Usability Testing.
- Different usability tests will have different participant characteristics. For instance, if you're testing advanced features, it's likely you'll want to recruit people who've been using your product for a while. If instead, you're interested in how easily people can sign up for your service, you'll want to recruit people who aren't already members. For every usability test, you'll have to ask who is your audience and what subset of this audience do you care about for the current set of questions you want to answer. Lots of development teams build their software to satisfy the requirements of a set of personas.
Personas are fake people who have all the important attributes that the team cares about. If you have personas, you can use them as the basis of your recruiting process. Just work out which personas would be performing the tasks that you care about, and then, recruit people who share your personas' primary characteristics. If you don't have personas already, just write down a list of the attributes you think your users are likely to have. Remember, each additional attribute you add to your recruitment wish list will reduce the number of people who could potentially take part in your usability study, so make sure to keep it to the most important things.
Some examples of attributes you'd care about might be their age range, gender, experience levels and habits, and whether they're existing users or not. Make sure that each attribute you list is measurable. Don't say, "Old." Say, "65+." Don't say, "Experienced." Say, "Can describe how to use "at least three advanced features," and then, list what those advanced features might be. It's best to create this attribute list along with all the other members of the team so everyone is bought in.
That's because a common excuse people on development team give for not wanting to fix issues is that participants somehow weren't indicative of your real users. If everybody was involved in determining the characteristics that you're recruiting for, then, they won't have that excuse.
- 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