Usability testing guidelines for creating a successful UX
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Published on June 4, 2014
Usability testing is a critical component of user experience design. UX testing starts early in the design process. You can start to test with initial sketches and paper prototypes, long before you’ve built your first interactive prototype. Even while in the early UX design phases, while still working on paper, you can have designers follow the primary user flows as they are being explained or discussed. By testing early you are able to make certain that your user flows have been validated before the time you get to the development process. This allows you to confirm foundational ideas and concepts before you start to invest time with coding and development.
Conducting usability testing with paper prototypes is the start of the process. Later in the development cycle you’ll benefit from conducting usability tests with your target audience. Start by identifying the target audience for your application, and make certain your testers are representative of this audience. During the initial phase of the testing, you can gauge their reaction to the UX design. Later, you can obtain feedback on how easily the testers can perform the core tasks the application or website is designed to provide.
The importance of usability testing is one of the many best practices we teach in the foundational UX training courses offered at American Graphics Institute.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.