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Usability Testing

A usability test reveals important problems that users might experience when interacting with a computer or a product. The resulting test report describes these problems and offers recommendations for correcting them.

In a usability test, typical users perform typical tasks under an expert’s supervision. For example, if we test an insurance company’s website, we ask test participants to purchase the car insurance that meets their needs. Test participants work with the product in test sessions that last between 30 and 90 minutes.

DialogDesign can test dialogs on mainframes, PCs, Internet pages, intranets, personal devices (such as mobile phones), vending machines, and more. We can also test the usability of documentation and written instructions, in particular “Getting Started” guides.


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The usability test sessions typically take two days, and we test three to four users per day. Each test session lasts 30 to 90 minutes. A complete usability test can be performed in less than two weeks, including preparation, testing, and communicating the results.

We will be glad to train or guide your staff so that they can gradually learn how to conduct professional usability tests on their own.

A test is particularly useful when:

·      Usability is a critical success factor, for example, because the product faces strong competition, or because there are no opportunities for formal user training.

·      You need an independent evaluation of the quality of a dialog that a subcontractor has created for you. DialogDesign can help you define measurable usability success criteria. Later, we check that the criteria have been met.

·      The dialog must be as efficient as possible because users will use it frequently.

·      The product team is skeptical of the value of good dialog design. A substantial part of the value of a usability test is in the experience that product team members get when they observe one or more test sessions and see users’ problems.

Why choose DialogDesign?

·      Experience and recognized expertise

Our experience is your guarantee for quality work. We have documented experience from hundreds of tests, interviews, and other work. We only use consultants with at least 20 years of experience. Anyone can call themselves a usability expert, but Rolf Molich is the only Dane - and one of the very few Europeans - whose expertise is so widely recognized that he’s regularly paid to give talks and conduct courses about usability in the US.

·      Standardized approach

We use the Danish standard rules for usability testing, which 15 Danish companies developed jointly. The rules are publicly available and suitable for inclusion in a contract; they’re currently being translated into English.

·      Communicating results

Usability results must be professional. They must also be communicated effectively; otherwise, they may simply be ignored. DialogDesign has considerable usability communication experience - specifically, we conduct a consensus-building session and write useful and usable test reports. See specific examples of test reports from DialogDesign and others.

·      Useful and usable recommendations

Useful and usable recommendations are critical to ensure that you get the maximum return on investment from a usability test. DialogDesign has performed internationally recognized research in this area (see, for example, CUE-7). We therefore have the necessary expertise to provide good recommendations.

·      Same facilitator in all countries in international testing

If you need to usability test your product in several countries, it’s crucial that one person oversees all usability tests and draws the main conclusions. We can offer the same facilitator in Denmark, the UK, and Germany. Rolf Molich speaks English and German so well that he has repeatedly conducted successful usability tests in all three languages. For other countries, we use our extensive network to recruit local facilitators who will do quality usability work.

How DialogDesign Tests

Read More

·      How DialogDesign tests

·      Usability test coaching

·      Sample test report from DialogDesign


Requirements for a Professional Usability Test Facilitator

Users’ demonstrated ability to perform tasks is our main interest in a usability test. Users’ opinions are of less interest. Consequently, a professional facilitator must remain passive during a test and avoid discussions with test participants.

The most difficult parts of a think-aloud usability test are to

·      Create a set of valid and typical test tasks.

·      Conduct test sessions correctly without providing any hidden clues to test participants.

·      Write a usable test report.

·      Suggest useful and usable changes.

·      Sell test results to the product team so that the test results actually result in a more usable product.

You can learn how to conduct quality usability tests with DialogDesign’s coaching and courses.


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