Usability Testing Service

Usability testing is our most frequently requested service. Why? Because a usability study can be as small or as big as your needs require and your budget allows.  And because there is no substitute for learning from your users directly.

Why expertise matters in usability testing services

When you choose UX Firm for your usability testing/UX research studies, you get the experts, not junior staff assigned to your project who may or may not have the background or experience to do your study correctly.

Experience counts. We’ve got the expertise that comes from decades of doing many hundreds of studies. We bring our honed skills in moderating and logging sessions to ensure quality without introducing bias.

Our methodology is based on Barnum’s popular book on usability testing, the award-winning Usability Testing Essentialsnow in a fully revised, updated 2nd edition.

We are your partners in usability studies

Understanding your needs and goals is the start of our partnership. We kick off our engagement with a planning meeting to determine the specific requirements for your study. Working with your key stakeholders, we define the characteristics of your users, the tasks you want to understand, and the quantitative and qualitative feedback you want to receive.

We debrief on the findings together, at points during testing and at the end. This way, you walk away knowing exactly what your action plan is, prioritized on the basis of the findings.

Finally, we follow up with a report that details the findings, and we present the findings to your key stakeholders in whatever format is best for you.

We provide in-person and remote moderated usability testing

Wherever your users are, we can reach them. Using our portable usability lab, we can set up on your site or another location or conduct remote moderated testing, or a combination of in-person and remote testing.

And if you have never done usability testing before, you will be amazed to find out how much you can learn from a small study of five users.

Contact us to start the conversation about how we can partner with you on usability testing studies.

For a review of all of our services, visit our services page.

Usability Testing Frequently Asked Questions

How many test participants do you need for a usability test?

Our typical studies have 5 users in a day in one-hour sessions, with a findings meeting at the end of the day.

If you have budget for 15 users, we recommend 3 separate tests with 5 users each time, building user experience into the product in development.

How do you recruit participants for usability studies?

There is no substitute for recruiting real users for your studies.  You can recruit them in a number of ways:

  • Do it yourself, using your customer database for your current customers or social media for new prospective customers.
  • Do it with a recruiting company that can access your target users, using your screener.
  • Do it using one of the online platforms like usertesting.com or userzoom.com

How do you plan a usability test?

Planning is the essential starting place for any kind of usability test. In a planning meeting with your key stakeholders, you want to

  • set testing goals
  • develop the user profile(s) for recruiting screeners
  • determine tasks (which become scenarios)
  • create questions to ask during testing
  • select feedback mechanisms to use after testing, such as the System Usability Scale

You can conduct this planning meeting face-to-face or via web-based conferencing. Minutes of the meeting become the test protocol for the study.

How long does a typical test session last?

A typical test session is an hour. The timeline for the hour  often goes like this:

  • 10 minutes—greet participant, provide orientation to the study, including coaching on “think aloud process”
  • 40 minutes—participant works through scenarios of use, based on the plan for the study
  • 10 minutes—post-test feedback mechanisms (questionnaires, qualitative feedback instruments, interview)

At what state in the project should I do usability testing?

Testing can take place at any stage of product development, but the earlier the better. Here are some options:

  • Test older products or competitor products before product design begins to gather requirements.
  • Test early stage paper prototypes, clickable prototypes, and wireframes to understand basic concepts.
  • Test at the mid-stage of development using interactive designs.
  • Test at the late stage of development to confirm the usability of the interface.

Does usability testing need to take place in a lab?

Testing can take place at any stage of product development, but the earlier the better. Here are some options:

  • Test older products or competitor products before product design begins to gather requirements.
  • Test early stage paper prototypes, clickable prototypes, and wireframes to understand basic concepts.
  • Test at the mid-stage of development using interactive designs.
  • Test at the late stage of development to confirm the usability of the interface.

Is remote usability testing an option?

Remote testing is a great option, especially during the pandemic. In a remote testing session, you get to record and observe the participant’s interactions with the interface and you can recruit participants wherever they live or work.

What are the usability test deliverables?

Test deliverables are typically, but not exclusively, the following:

  • All materials for each user (completed screener, pre-test questionnaire, post-task questionnaires, post-test questionnaire)
  • session recordings for each user
  • Logs or transcripts for each session
  • Findings meeting notes

Other deliverables include:

  • Executive summary report
  • Document-style report
  • Presentation-style report with screen captures/callouts
  • In-person presentation of findings with slide deck and video clips

What's the difference between a usability test and a focus group?

A usability test is not the same as a focus group. 

A focus group invites a number of people (typically 6 – 8) to share their thoughts about a product, based on their opinion about it. 

A usability test invites one person at a time to engage with the product and share their thoughts as they interact with it.  You learn what users like and don’t like because they are “thinking out loud” as they perform typical tasks with the product.

What tools are in a UX toolkit?

A UX toolkit has many research tools, including:

  • Site visits (contextual inquiry) to learn about users, tasks, and environments
  • Usability testing at any stage in the development of the product
  • Expert review (heuristic evaluation) to inspect a product or interface against a set of rules or guidelines
  • Card sorting to gain insight into information architecture and naming strategies
  • Surveys to broaden the reach to your users and gain feedback
  • Diary studies to gain qualitative, longitudinal insights into your users’ experience over days or weeks
  • Customer journey maps to visually present the customer experience from end to end