By Owen Fay . Posted on March 2, 2022

Usability A/B testing is meant to gather the opinions, emotions, and thoughts of users to help any business optimize and grow. It’s a process that everyone should do but only a few have in place.

Usability A/B testing is a human-centered process to evaluate a product, service, website, app, or other resources with real users to gain insights into their experiences. With usability A/B testing two variations of the resource are shown to a panel of users to find the option that delivers the biggest impact, achieves business goals, and drives metrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knEcLpRTh5c

Usability testing, an important part of business optimization, has become simpler, faster, and less expensive over time, so there’s really no reason not to implement it.

Time and money restrictions sometimes push testing to the sidelines or eliminate it entirely, because usability testing is frequently misunderstood. It’s funny that, even though usability testing has been around for more than two decades, it’s still buried in myths and misconceptions.

These misconceptions may scare you away from doing your own user testing if you have no prior knowledge of the process or how some things are done.

Let’s take a look at Ten usability testing misconceptions that often turn businesses away from testing.

1. Usability Testing Is So Easy Anyone Can Do It

Humans are capable of doing almost anything, but it doesn’t guarantee that they will do it efficiently. While the fundamentals of usability testing are simple, performing it properly is more difficult than it appears.

Many people believe that all you have to do is create some common tasks, assign them to people, observe their actions, ask questions, and take notes. Usability A/B testing, they believe, is a basic user research technique that everyone can perform.

Planning, facilitating, observing, listening, understanding, evaluating, and offering the best solutions all require attention to detail, research, and cooperation. While everyone can perform a usability A/B test, not everyone will do it effectively. Usability testing demands a significant amount of effort, research, and time to get all of the benefits.

But that is not to say that those who aren’t familiar with usability testing shouldn’t try it. Although, you may not need a testing ‘professional’ or a Human-Computer Interaction Designer; anyone with a basic understanding of testing can get the most out of usability A/B testing if the plans are well thought out and the test approach is well-defined.

2. Usability Testing Is Only About Usability

Many people seem to believe that usability testing is just about collecting usability metrics and discovering usability issues such as time to task completion, success/failure, and so on and that it doesn’t offer additional knowledge about all of the other components that make up a user experience.

As a result, other products’ user experiences will need to be tested separately. Causing people to think of usability testing as a limited or even irrelevant technique.

That is not the truth! Usability testing has long been focused on more than just usability, despite the focus of the name being usability. Usability testing allows you to get feedback on people’s first impressions, emotions, and feelings in response to what you’re testing.

Generally, the user experience is being analyzed with a special focus on effectiveness, efficiency, or other metrics. The majority of usability tests examine the user experience in the pre-launch environment you present to users.

3. It’s Only About Metrics

A common assumption is user testing is only useful if it creates quantitative numbers that impress stakeholders. The winner of a test, margin of victory, and user satisfaction scores are among them.

This user testing misconception places a greater emphasis on quantitative rather than qualitative testing. In summative or comparative usability testing with a large number of participants, metrics are useful. These tests are used to evaluate a final product’s usability, benchmark a business element, or compare two or more designs.

The numbers only show you what, not why. Why problems exist is more important than any numerical data in all usability studies. Understanding why allows businesses to address customer feedback and make changes that make a difference.

To put it another way, you can’t improve your product solely based on metrics. It’s important to pair metrics with qualitative data where participants are asked what problems they have with your product and why they have them. You can even ask about how they would improve your product in specific situations.

4. You Need A Usability Lab

We’ve probably heard people say that their company doesn’t have a usability lab, so they can’t conduct usability testing.

While this was true even a decade ago, with high-speed internet, intuitive platforms, and reliable results dashboards, usability studies can be done at a low cost and remotely.

Although testing in a usability lab has many benefits, it can be done practically anywhere. Usability testing does not always need an expensively equipped lab or a big number of participants.

You can easily perform remote and unmoderated testing for various projects, then collect and analyze the data from the remote usability sessions effectively, eliminating this misconception.

New unmoderated, remote tests make it easier to find the right participants, which is much more important than usability testing in a lab.

5. You Need to Have a Final Product to Test

Some companies wait until the end of the process to do usability testing, believing that you need a fully functional product or service to do so. This misconception says you can’t test a prototype until you’ve checked all of its uses. You can get more realistic responses from participants once the final product is ready.

However, by the time a team is able to create a completely interactive prototype, they’ve already decided on a design direction. Sure, they can still make adjustments, but they rarely do unless testing shows that a design is a complete failure.

Testing early and often, on the other hand, should be done at various points during the design process. When creating a test plan testing multiple prototypes and designs help designers ensure that they are on the right track. Furthermore, testing immediately before launch does not give you enough time to address any issues.

6. You need to test with a specific number of participants

Another user testing misconception is that there is a secret formula for determining the appropriate number of participants for each test. Others argue that a user test’s results will be more beneficial if there are more participants. “You simply need to test with five individuals,” someone would say. “You’ll need 10-12 people to test with.” “You should test with at least 50 people.” When the fact is that the number of people who take part in a test is determined by the type of test.

Because you don’t know who your target audience is yet, you might desire a higher number of participants for a user test when you’re first trying out a concept or an idea.

When testing the usability of a product or service, however, a smaller number of participants who are similar to your target users will be enough. You’ll need a higher number of participants if your goal is to evaluate the usability of a user interface and collect metrics.

7. You Should Use The Same Users In Each Test

“If we use the same participants as the first study, we’ll be able to identify improvements”, this statement might seem accurate. People believe that for future rounds of usability testing on a project, you should use the same participants that contributed to earlier user research.

They believe that usability testing aims to confirm what you’ve already learned from those participants and to offer them a chance to tell you if the system meets their needs. The truth is that people have a lot going on in their life and may have had a variety of experiences, they may not even recall what they saw the last time they used your product.

While it sounds great to use the same participants again, there is usually no reason to. It is usually better to use people who have never participated in your research before. It’s best to test with new people each time because this ensures that your product is exposed to people with a wide range of behaviors and opinions.

8. You Should Test A Lot Of Things At Once

It’s not unusual to see a project team that tries to fit as many options as possible into a single test. Some teams think to get the most out of your testing resources and learn the most, you should load as many assignments and questions as possible into one test.

Too many variables in one test may stress the user, and feedback from a tired mind is not only inaccurate but also harmful to the success of the product. If you try to stuff too many tasks or questions into each session, you’ll frequently see tests run much longer than you want them to.

To complete the test the users may have to skip activities or speed through every round, creating feedback that is rushed and less in-depth than it could be.

Ideally, a usability test should not take more than a few hours. The best practice is to test two variables at a time and ask users to give feedback on just that comparison. You can always test in cycles to find the version that works best for your business.

9. You Should Make Changes During The Test

Sometimes testers will constantly check the feedback from the test and immediately make changes. The problem is you’re probably taking the feedback from just one user, not taking the overall results of the test.

Taking action or making changes based on the responses from just a few users is usually a bad idea. If the test isn’t complete, it’s too soon to make changes to the prototype or design. The experiences one user has might be completely different than someone else. You can’t determine if things are actually a problem and making changes to the test will make the rest of the responses invalid.

Unless there is a real problem with the prototype you’re testing or questions you ask, it’s best to keep things the same to see what all of the feedback says. Paint the full picture with feedback from the entire group, then take their collective feedback and make changes.

You can make changes from the insights you get from the first round of testing then make changes for the next round of tests.

10. You Have To Do What Users Tell You

Usability testing allows you to get real insights from users, some members of the team may assume that issues raised by users must be handled right away. They assume that you act on user feedback and test their findings.

The reality is that the management team makes the decisions. Although each issue found throughout usability testing should be given fair attention, and usability testing gives information about problems and potential solutions, the business must decide if the issue should be handled and fixed.

They don’t need to act on the feedback from the tests, user preferences really aren’t solutions, and the ultimate decision on changes must be made after considering other factors such as requirements, project planning, and so on.

All businesses should use usability testing and consider the feedback, but their opinions might not meet the goals of the business, understand your goals and make changes accordingly.

Conclusion

Even though millions of businesses are aware of usability testing, these common misconceptions are common. About half of the issues discovered during usability testing are breaches of simple usability guidelines that have been around for a long time.

You must eliminate these misconceptions about user testing and begin to put your consumers first. Make contact with them before, during, and after the launch to ensure that you are aware of their wants and needs. Set aside money and resources for user testing if you want to become more customer-centric.

Poll the People is an excellent platform for conducting usability testing, and it can assist you in determining the best results and optimizing your business before introducing any new concepts or ideas. Sign up to start getting the most out of your usability testing!

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