Join Chris Nodder for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a test plan, part of UX Foundations: Usability Testing.
- A test plan is a great reminder and to-do list. It's a way to keep track of everything you need to do to ensure you have the right participants at the right time in the right location with the right setup and the right set of tasks to perform. Having a test plan is also important when you communicate with the rest of the team. It's one document that tells everyone involved what's going on, when, and why. The term "test plan" sounds quite formal, but really all that your plan is doing is listing out the decisions you've made and the things that need to happen for the usability test to take place.
This helps you keep track of what's going on and what still needs to be done. Most of the information in the test plan is stuff that comes from other documents you use during the planning and execution of the study. For instance, your participant profile and recruiting criteria, the study schedule, and your task list You'll also pull in information that might not be written down anywhere, such as the research questions that led to your task list. Most often, the research plan is a place holder document that contains a bare minimum of original information and instead links off to other documents.
That way, you aren't creating extra work for yourself, but you still have something that makes sure you did all the work you need to do. The main parts of the test plan are: a description of your participant profile; a link to the screen I use to recruit participants; who will be doing the recruiting; how participants will be rewarded; the research questions you want to answer; a link to the task list you'll use to answer those questions; a link to your post session question list; where the test will take place; how the room will be set up; what equipment will be used to show the product to participants, for instance a PC, smart phone, or prototype, and how it will be configured; and finally, a link to the test schedule; when the sessions will take place; and when the team will meet to discuss the findings.
We've put an example test plan in the Exercise Files that go along with this course. It lists out the common tasks that need to be performed before you can run a study, and is being filled in for an example study. If you want, you can substitute your own study information, and then use this as the basis for your own test plan document.
- 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