Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a minimal report, part of UX Foundations: Usability Testing.
- Although usability testing gives every observer a better appreciation of what real users are like, people's memory of what happened in each participant's session and each usability study will get cloudy over time. I personally don't like writing formal usability reports, because I know they seldom get read. However, I do see a lot of value in a quick summary document that describes what happened and what the team plan on doing about it. What I've found over the years is that when you want to look back on old studies you ran, what you're normally trying to remember is what the interface looked like when it was tested, and what the participants did with it.
For that reason, the best report is sometimes just a set of screen shots of the interface with problem areas circled and called out. Participant quotes always resonate well with people, so it's worth including those as well. If the team also decided during the results analysis meeting what they would do about the problems they saw, then the report is a good place to document that information. It's also worth quickly describing the participant profiles, so that later on you can easily work out whether they were novice or expert users, or what other attributes they had that might've made them behave the way they did.
Most of the other stuff that someone would need to know is included in your test plan. Assuming you followed my advise and wrote your test plan out, you can link to it, or attach it to this brief report, for people who really want the details of what tests were performed and what the study rationale was. Although you need to write the report, and do it while the information is still fresh in your mind, the most important thing is that the team members attending the sessions see things for themselves. Reports are most useful as historical document, not as a good way of persuading people to make changes.
It's easy enough for people to ignore a report, but it's much harder for them to ignore a poster on the wall that calls out the issues and lists the things that they said they'd fix. I suggest you print out the important pages from your report in a poster format and put them on the wall in the team area. You can even check off the action items as each thing finds its way into the interface.
- 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