Introduction:

You've planned your usability test - now it's time to run it. To make sure that you don't forget to take any of the necessary steps, we've created this usability testing template.

"To design the best UX, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior. Users do not know what they want." - Asif, on behalf of QuovantisWhy is it important to do usability testing

With tips and instructions on everything from preparing consent forms for your participants to the instructions to give to them before the test and space to hold your notes, this template has everything you need to perform a successful test.

Let's get started.

Record test details

Start off by recording some basic details of the usability test in the form fields below.

There's nothing complicated here - all of these details should have been set and/or defined during the usability testing template plan, so refer to that if you get stuck.

If your usability test plan was made by running a checklist from our template here in Process Street, you can automatically push these data points into this checklist using Zapier.

Zapier lets you integrate your checklists to automatically handle data management and save time. Check out our help articles and free ebooks on the topic for more information:

Note which metrics will be measured

Before beginning the test, take a moment to record which metrics will be measured to determine the success of your usability test. These should have already been set out in your usability test plan, so refer to that if you don't know them off-hand.

While you should know what metrics you'll be measuring already, select the relevant choices from the form field below to show the corresponding tasks in this checklist.

  • 1
    Successful task completion
  • 2
    Critical errors
  • 3
    Non-critical errors
  • 4
    Error-free rate
  • 5
    Time on task
  • 6
    Subjective measures
  • 7
    Like, dislikes and recommendations

Prepare pre-test questions

Now it's time to prepare the pre-test questions which the participant will answer before starting on the scenarios.

These will vary greatly depending on the website or product you're testing (and the stage of development that it's at), so try to focus on what your test will benefit from knowing about the participants.

For example, you could ask their age, whether they use similar products or websites, how experienced they are with said products or websites, their occupation, what they would use your product for, and so on.

Record participant details

Record the details of the participant taking part in this test using the form fields below. This is mostly for record keeping, and will make it easier to see which participants responded better to certain designs and scenarios.

Performing the test:

Welcome the participant

(Source: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1436889)

Start off by welcoming the participant and thanking them for attending the usability test.

Remember - even if you're compensating the participants by paying them, they're still giving their time to test out your design. The better their mood and the more open they are to talking to your team, the smoother your usability test should go and the more accurate the results you gather will be.

Explain the test

Next, explain the test to the participant, including what the product is, the purpose of the test, the scenarios they will be working through, and so on.

While you need to get the participant familiar with the rough idea of the product, you should try to avoid telling them anything which will affect their actions during the test.

For example, you could mention what the website or product being tested is designed to do without issue. However, giving details about the features or navigation elements of the site would provide them with knowledge they could use during the test, which defeats the point of getting participants who haven't interacted with your design before.

Ask any pre-test questions

Now it's time to ask the participant the pre-test questions you prepared earlier. To help you do this, check out the information box below, where we've pulled in the questions you wrote out earlier.

Pre-test questions: {{form.Pre-test_questions}}

Note their answers in the form field below.

Answer any participant questions

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EDO_Answers_Questions_on_the_NRC_Chat_(9262648882).jpg)

Ask the participant if they have any questions next. This will help them to relax a little bit and let them get to know the situation a little more.

As with explaining the test, try to avoid giving the participant too much information directly relating to the solution of the test itself. Also, note any questions they have in the form field below for safe keeping.

Tell the participant to think out loud

While it might seem a little redundant, be sure to tell the participant to think out loud while working through the usability test. This allows you and any other attending staff to take more thorough notes and understand the thought process behind the participant's actions.

For example, you could act out a sample scenario (completely unrelated to the product) and demonstrate the thought process. Eg, if you were told to figure out how to use a toaster, you'd say out loud as you did the actions "it's plugged in and switch on, so it should have power, etc".

Have them perform the scenario(s)

Now it's time to the participant to carry out the scenarios until either the time slot for the test is up or all tasks have been successfully completed.

Use the form field below to note the participant's behavior and actions in as much detail as possible.

Note task completion success

Use the dropdown field below to state whether the participant was able to successfully complete their tasks.

There's nothing special to say about this action - if they complete the task then the dropdown should be "Success" and if they did not it should be "Failure".

Record critical errors

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/mistake-404-error-computer-website-3085712/)

Here you need to record any critical errors the participant had while working through their scenario(s). These are the errors which were severe enough to result in the tasks being incomplete.

Record the critical errors in the form field below.

Note non-critical errors

Use the form field below to record any non-critical errors which cropped up during the usability test.

These are errors which were either corrected by the participant before they became severe enough to stop completion of the scenario, and those which were minor enough to not affect the outcome too much anyway.

It might seem redundant to record errors that were small enough to not affect the ultimate outcome. However, these errors nonetheless help to highlight areas where your design could do with improvement, as every little helps in smoothing out the friction in your audience's experience.

Record time on task

Now record the amount of time it took for the participant to finish the test - the "time on task" - in the form field below.

This is a great measure of just how successful the design being tested was, as the longer the participant spent completing the task, the more likely it is that the design was obscuring the path they needed to take.

Well, that or the design was too distracting for them to focus on the actions they needed to.

Note subjective metrics

(Source: https://pixabay.com/en/smiley-emoticon-anger-angry-2979107/)

Now it's time to take note of any subjective metrics you're measuring in this test. Use the form fields below to record the participant's rating of each element on a scale of 1 - 5 (with 1 being the lowest or most negative rating and 5 being the highest or most positive rating).

If you want to change these elements or add more subjective metrics of your own, feel free to edit this usability testing template to do so.

Ask for their likes, dislikes and recommendations

The last metric you need to take note of is the participant's likes, dislikes and recommendations. Use the corresponding form fields below to make a record of all three.

Remember, just because the participant likes, dislikes or recommends something doesn't mean they're correct in their assertion. However, over several participants is can help you build up a more complete picture of how the design is being Received with your core audience, and possibly hint at some underlying problems which need to be addressed.

Thank the participant for their time

Take a moment to thank the participant for taking part and spending their time on your usability test. While this doesn't give you any real benefit, it's polite to do so and there's always a chance the participant will speak positively about their experience to their friends or colleagues.

Confirm compensation for participant

Next, confirm that the participant is being compensated in the appropriate manner for the test. If the arrangement was to pay them on location after completion then do so now, otherwise ensure that the participant knows how they are going to receive their payment (if they haven't already) and when that will happen.

Tidy the location

(Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bookcase-chair-computer-contemporary-263209/)

One the test has been completed it's time to tidy up the location to prepare for either the next participant or the end of the test altogether.

If there's another participant due then reset everything involved with the test and save everything relating to the last one (such as recordings of the session). If the test is over, check that all of your equipment is packed away and accounted for and the location is in the same state as it was when you arrived before leaving.

Congratulations! You've completed this usability testing template and are ready to put your findings into action. It's time to iterate on the design and run another usability test to keep the continuous improvement cycle going!

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