The Most Important Usability Factors and Need of Usability Testing
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A recent Gartner for Marketers report 2017 states that Marketing leaders are now accustomed to changes involving how brands engage with customers. However, by 2020, five technology shifts will catalyze transitions in both marketing strategies and organizations.
Implementation of new technologies will require proper authentication and testing. Usability testing in software testing will play a key role as it checks the various aspects of an application from an end-user’s perspective. It is a non-functional testing technique that evaluates the ease of use of the software application based on multiple parameters.
One key finding in the Gartner report is that “many brands are finding that their mobile applications are not delivering the level of adoption and customer engagement that underpinned these companies’ decision to invest in an app.” As companies invest more and more in mobile and web applications, they will need good resources and techniques to establish their usability quotient. Some key objectives of usability testing are to ensure ease of use, create a feasible process to ensure smooth operations, ensure user satisfaction, and bring about the desired experience.
Why is Usability Testing Important
An application is built with specific objectives and features for the desired user experience. The goal of usability testing is to guarantee that the application meets the expected requirements. When a defect is identified earlier, it is easier to fix it, and the process is much cheaper. A software application goes through many changes in the development cycle; hence, usability testing is important for enhanced results.
Key Components of Usability Testing
Usability testing in software testing, being a black box testing technique, establishes whether users feel at ease with the application or the website. The evaluation is done across various parameters, such as the application’s navigation, the User Interface (UI), layout ease, content compatibility, and much more. On the whole, it tests the following features within an application.
- How convenient it is for the user to use the application.
- How easily the user can learn the features of the software.
- Is the core purpose of creating the application attained?
Usability testing revolves around key components of an application – Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Failures, and Satisfaction. With various approaches, Usability Testing enables enterprises to build better quality software/an application that is readily accepted in the marketplace by users and cuts the learning curve.
Usability testing methods can be altered to incorporate various facets of testing, ranging from functional and system integration to unit testing. It can be a cost-effective activity if planned strategically and can give the much-expected results for enhancing the application’s value.
With the appropriate infrastructure and skills, usability testing can enable teams to fix almost all problems with an application before it is finally released to the users. This ultimately results in better performance and standardized processes. Moreover, it helps identify any expected bugs and loopholes in the system that can go unnoticed for a developer or get skipped in any other testing activity.
Usability Testing covers various aspects of the testing process, which need an advanced understanding and an inventive approach. It is similar to hacking the minds of a user and understanding the behavior to produce better results. While the resources need to be trained on the tools, it is also important that they develop patience and keenness to look beyond the obvious. This will ultimately help fix issues with the application and serve an enhanced user experience.
Criticality of Usability Testing for Businesses
In one of the recommendations for enterprises, Gartner suggests that “Enterprises must incorporate measures of business value, usability testing and promotion into the development process.”
The benefits of Usability Testing are immense in Digital Transformation. The year 2017 is considered the age of customers and an era of Digital Transformation. Critical business decisions will be driven by customer experience, and these parameters will dominate the software development and testing process. User experience and brand building will come much closer as we go ahead.
Sometimes, you log on to a website and fail to get the desired and required experience from the application. Whether web or mobile, applications are significant for enterprises to lure customers and sustain their interest in the brand. The popularity of e-commerce has challenged the growth of brick-and-mortar stores. Consequently, even the big retail stores are focusing consciously on their online presence and grabbing more market share. The need to offer Omni-channel experience is amplifying the importance of Usability testing.
Many enterprises ignore the value of Usability Testing and do not incorporate it in their research and budget decisions. Present-day challenges and a highly competitive sphere intensify the need to focus on UX design and usability testing. Making an impression is essential; making it in the first go can bring tremendous growth.
Usability Testing Methods Help Address the Following Types of Key Issues:
- Identifying broken links
- Resolving Errors on the page
- Resolving language or content gaps
- Enhancing brand’s messaging and bringing uniformity across the site
- Rectifying poor design layout
- Checking for potential errors by the users while accessing the site
Usability Testing is critical for the design and development teams to identify issues/errors before the application hits the market. Nevertheless, it is an ongoing process and cannot be done in a single stab. With intensified usability testing, enterprises can gauge the users’ expectations and make applications more user-friendly.
For instance, the site might work as well on an iPhone as on an Android tablet or not on Chrome, compared to Mozilla Firefox!
Testing across devices and operating systems for compatibility and holistic experience is the need of the hour. User testing involves scenarios that could exist in a real-time environment. Even methodologies and technologies such as Service Virtualization can be leveraged to execute Usability Testing activities, which can help emulate real-time network fluctuations and loads. Digital Transformation needs Digital Assurance, which cannot be attained without an effective Usability Testing strategy.
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