Usability testing

I was always told never to use the term, ‘Stress testing’ when it came to assuring solution reliability and resilience.
Often user and steering groups are a great way to gather opinion.

I was intrigued by an article by Christian Rohrer. He suggests:

The field of user experience, is blessed (or cursed) with a very wide range of research methods, ranging from tried-and-true methods such as lab-based usability studies to those that have been more recently developed, such as desirability studies (to measure aesthetic appeal).

You can’t use the full set of methods on every project, but most design teams benefit from combining insights from multiple research methods.

3 Dimensions are suggested:

  1. Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
  2. Qualitative vs. Quantitative
  3. Context of Website or Product Use

Read more from his article here.

However, what we need to understand is the various stages of development and their various inputs from participants whether they be developers/ technical or user – the latter can vary from moderate users to power user types. NB Power user types are better for pilot / trial stages.

In addition, there needs to be an understanding of testing stages for web development, for example:

  1. Specify
  2. Design and agree testing methodology
  3. Prototype
  4. Refine Prototype
  5. Develop components
  6. Component Test
  7. Systems Test
  8. Integration Test
  9. Release Test
  10. Pilot user test – Normally 10-20% of the entire end user population.

The article also suggests a polarity between qualitative (direct results) and quantitative (indirect).

This test cycle is an ideal application for New media deploying RSS feeds. For example, test status / project updates.

Interestingly, this area of project support or control through say, a project office could be an ideal Project / corporate podcasting application.


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