Q. Isn’t usability testing something you do at the very end, once the design is finished?

A. Usability is most effective when used early on and at multiple points in the UX design process so you can discover and address critical issues while you still have time to fix them. Doing usability only “at the end” (or as something to check off the development checklist before launch) often reveals critical design problems when there is neither time nor resources to address them. Read more…

Q. We don’t have time to do usability research. Won’t it slow down development?

A. When usability testing is thought of as “an extra step” or not planned for from the outset, yes, usability research will be perceived as “slowing down” the project. However, when usability testing is planned for and incorporated as a way to bring user input into the design loop at critical moments, it is ultimately a time- (and money) saver. Read more…

Q. Why do we need to do usability testing? We already know what our users want. 

A. What people say and do are often very different. Usability research is the practice of directly observing representative users navigate and interact with an application to figure out where and why there are issues and/or confusion with a design. The insights gained from usability research are based on behavior, not opinions, which is the best way to learn what you need to know to improve a design. Read more…

Q. Isn’t usability testing expensive? We can’t afford it.

A. Even when teams and stakeholders are convinced of the value of doing usability testing, it can be considered too expensive, a luxury item that is first on the chopping block to trim costs. However, usability testing is not one-size (or one cost) fits all. Read more…

Q. We have metrics to tell us what our users are doing. Can’t we design from that?

A. Analytics (performance metrics, A/B testing, etc.) can tell you what users are doing on your site. Usability testing explains WHY they’re doing it.Performance metrics and usability testing are complimentary tools. One helps you discover user behavior and activity for existing software through quantitative analysis. The other helps you diagnose and understand the issues behind the activity through qualitative analysis. The insights gained from usability testing help design teams iterate designs thoughtfully vs. reacting blindly to numbers alone.

DO YOU HAVE A USABILITY MYTH or QUESTION TO SUGGEST?