How to run a usability test

The ultimate goal for our UX and UI projects is that they are eye-catching and easy to use. We do not want users to encounter difficulties or be confused by the browsing process and actions. All this can be verified by performing some usability tests. 

Here, we’ll share some top tips about usability tests. What they are, what they’re for and how to run one or more tests for your UI design and user experience projects.

What is the purpose of a usability test?

When designing apps and web experiences, the user must always be the leading character. Without them, there would be no physical or digital products. That’s why it’s fundamental to perform tests with real users to evaluate the usability of your products. 

Examining user processes and flows in your designs is paramount. It’s the only way to know if the interface and user experience are up to the desired standard and performance.

The steps to follow for a usability test

Are you ready to run a usability test? Below, we’ll show you the steps to follow for each test or group of tests. 

usability test

1. Decide what you want to examine

The important thing is to decide precisely what you want to examine with a usability test. Do you want to know if your website can successfully lead your customers to a positive purchase? Or maybe you need to examine the usability of a mobile app? 

If you want to evaluate different aspects of a project, create a group of tests and run them one by one. This will make it easier to analyze the collected data.

2. Choose a task for the test

In more detail, decide on the task required for the test. In the case of a shopping site, you could examine user flows up to the purchase stage, step by step. For an app, the quality of the interface buttons and ease of browsing towards a specific action.

Think outside the box, and select some secondary tasks depending on the results of the first tests. For example, if the user cannot complete the task effectively, do they finally manage it in another way or not at all?

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3. Establish a standard for success

For each test, establish a standard for success. Up to which point should the usability test reach? What is the endpoint to determine its success or failure?

For a shopping site, a standard of success could be The user bought a product without browsing more than 6 points. And for an app, The user presses the correct buttons directly until completing their task.”

Most usability tests will have a list of standards and a checklist to fill out during tests.

4. Develop a plan

The time has arrived to develop a plan to run your usability test. At the highest level, there are three types of usability tests:

  • Guerrilla or hallway
  • Unmoderated remote
  • Moderated

Guerrilla tests are conducted in a public place, where the test subjects are people who are passing by at that moment.

Unmoderated remote tests are performed on a mobile device or computer in the user’s natural setting. 

Moderated tests are more complex, as they require greater production and coordination. These tests are performed in a specific place and with a research team.

In a document, share the strategy and task with your team. Use Flaticon icons and stickers to view the ideas on each page or section. 

usability test

5. Convene a group of people or hire a service

Depending on the complexity and the scope of the task of the test, you must decide whether to conduct the test with your own resources or hire an agency. It’s worth mentioning that if you go down the agency route, they offer an ideation and strategy service, which would greatly help with the first steps.

Likewise, whether on your behalf or with an agency, the time has come to convene a group of people, or in the case of guerrilla or hallway tests, research and select the ideal place and time.

6. Collect data, analyze it and take action

The information and data collected in the tests are the magic potion to determine the course of action to improve your user experiences. You could say that this step is the most important of all. Data collection is the primary purpose of all user tests, using the data obtained to improve the product under assessment.

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Services to perform usability tests

As we mentioned above, usability tests exist in different capacities. And for each type of test, there is a resource to help you conduct it. Here are the names of some well-known services: Hotjar, Crazy Egg and Usertesting. 

Do some research into each service to see if it fits your needs. During your research, you’ll probably discover some tests that you hadn’t even considered at first. You may find the perfect one to evaluate your specific tasks.

usability test

Improve the usability of your interfaces with Flaticon

Most usability factors are based on the quality of visual elements and their treatment. With Flaticon UIcons and resources you can create UI designs with a high degree of usability. Discover all the icons that Flaticon has to offer to create successful user experiences.