How Usability Testing Improves UX Research

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  • Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA) — participants are asked to retrace their steps at the end of the session. Sometimes participants watch a video replay of their actions. Video may contain valuable eye tracking data.
  • Concurrent Probing (CP) — participants are asked to work on a task. Researchers ask follow-up questions on comments that are being made while tasks are performed.
  • Retrospective Probing (RP) — participants are asked questions once the session is completed. RP is often used in conjunction with other methods. Researchers take notes while participants make actions or comments. Researchers then follows up with additional questions at the end of the session.
  • Concurrent Think Aloud (CTA) — this is a popular method that requires users to think aloud while interacting with products. The point is to elicit real-time feedback along with emotional responses as participants work.
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  • Discover any kinks in the existing design
  • Make fast changes to designs that are causing problems
  • Re-test the prototype to the user to see if changes were effective
  • Remain Neutral — your job is to observe and ask questions. Do not lead participants to a desired answer. This defeats the whole purpose of testing.
  • Do Not Help — at least not right away. If a participant gets stuck, consult with the team on when and how much to help when users are going down the wrong path.
  • Take Really Good Notes — this should go without saying. Note takers should jot down as many details as possible. This makes analysis easier in the long run.
  • Be Inclusive — measure both subjective (preference) and performance metrics. These two metrics may not always match up. Some people may perform well but have low subjective ratings and vice versa.

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Ivan A Annikov

Ivan A Annikov

Technology enthusiast, product designer, entrepreneur, world traveler, patron of the arts, student of life...

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