The Most Important 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 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 ease of use of the software application based on multiple parameters.

One of the key findings mentioned 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 make more and more investment in mobile applications and web applications, they will need good amount of resources and techniques to establish its 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.

An application is built with specific objectives and with particular features for 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 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 navigation of the application, the User Interface (UI), ease of the layout, compatibility of the content, 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. In a way, 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 can be altered to incorporate various facets of testing, ranging from functional testing, system integration testing, to unit testing. It can be an absolutely 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 in identifying any expected bugs and loopholes in the system that can go unnoticed for a developer or gets skipped in any other type of testing activity.

Usability Testing is known to cover various aspects in the testing process, which need advanced level of understanding and an inventive approach. It is similar to hacking the minds of a user and understanding the behaviour 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 to be 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.

There are times when you log on to a website and fail to get the desired and required experience from the application. Applications, whether web or mobile, are of great significance for enterprises to lure customers and sustain their interest in the brand. Popularity of ecommerce has challenged the growth of brick and mortar stores. Consequently, even the big retail stores are focussing consciously on their online presence and grab more market share. The need to offer Omni-channel experience is amplifying the importance of Usability testing.

Many enterprises commit the mistake of ignoring the value of Usability Testing and do not incorporate it in their research and budget decisions. Present-day challenges and a highly competitive sphere intensifies the need to focus on UX design and usability testing. Making an impression is important, if you make it in the first go, it can bring tremendous growth.

Usability Testing helps 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 bring 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 are able to gauge the expectations of the users and make applications more user-friendly.

For instance, the site might work well on iPhone as against an Android tablet, or not work well on Chrome, when compared to Mozilla Firefox!

In Conclusion

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 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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