Usability Testing of Software

01 October, 2009

The user experience is something we hear more and more about when new applications are released or when existing applications are no longer used. Usability test is the term used to detect software defects in a product or process prior to release.

What is usability? Usability is the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users can achieve specified goals in particular environments” (ISO 9241)

Usability is a critical success factor!! If users find your systems unusable they will look for reasons not to use it and look elsewhere for solutions. Hence usability test is a critical part of your your software test cycle.

What is a usability fault? A potential problem in the appearance or organization of a system that makes it less easily used by its users

Operationally, a usability fault is a clear or evident violation of an established usability principle or guideline

Any aspect of a system that is likely to lead to confusion, error, delay or failure to complete some task on the part of the user.

What Problems do usability tests detect?

The aim of the usability tests is to expose difficulties that a user experiences when interacting with a system or web-site or whatever application they are using e.g.

Performing particular tasks using the system or process

Navigating a web-site to find information

Personalizing a web-site

We will look at a few examples in the next post.

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