Does usability testing work for documents? Our answer is a resounding yes.
In this column, we’ll give you three techniques for having people try out documents or any other stand-alone content. These techniques apply whether your document is on paper or online—for example, as a Web page or a PDF. They apply for both in-person and remote usability testing—especially with moderated remote testing.
What Is a Document?
We’re talking about functional documents that provide information to people—not fiction or poetry. Functional documents include informative banners—such as the ones on many Web sites about how an organization is dealing with COVID-19—legal documents, manuals, notices, official letters, press releases, privacy policies, terms and conditions, and more. Read More
Conducting traditional synchronous, or moderated, usability testing requires a moderator to communicate with test participants and observe them during a study—either in person or remotely. Unmoderated, automated, or asynchronous usability testing, as the name implies, occurs remotely, without a moderator. The use of a usability testing tool that automatically gathers the participants’ feedback and records their behavior makes this possible. Such tools typically let participants view a Web site they are testing in a browser, with test tasks and related questions in a separate panel on the screen.
Recently, there has been a surge in the number of tools that are available for conducting unmoderated, remote usability testing—and this surge is changing the usability industry. Whether we want to or not, it forces us to take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of unmoderated testing and decide whether we should incorporate it into our usability toolbox. Read More
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, all UX researchers have had to rely exclusively on conducting remote UX research. In Part 1 of this column, I discussed the many advantages of remote UX research. Although remote UX research does have many advantages, it also has some disadvantages. Now, in Part 2, I’ll consider the disadvantages of remote UX research and how to overcome or mitigate them.
The Disadvantages of Remote UX Research
What are the disadvantages of remote UX research and how can we minimize them as much as possible to get the best results?
You Cannot See Much of the Participants’ Context
The biggest disadvantage of remote UX research is also the greatest advantage of in-person UX research—being able to observe participants performing their tasks in the context of their natural environment. If you’re interested in understanding a particular group of people, their behavior, their typical tasks and processes, the tools and artifacts they use, the people with whom they interact, and the environment in which they’re performing their tasks, there’s no better way of understanding all of this than to visit participants in person so you can observe and interview them. When you’re not in the same room with participants, your view is limited to what you can see through their Webcam and what they share on their computer, phone, or tablet. Read More