Dos and Don’ts of Usability Testing

- It’s rarely a good idea to ask family and close friends to participate in research you yourself are conducting. Familiarity can cause all kinds of bias in either direction!
- Ensure all parties have sufficient time to participate in the research, free of distractions.
- Give clear instructions from the outset, and ensure all participants receive the same instructions. Don’t provide instructions
- Be well organised! Have all your preparation correctly ordered.
- A UX test is not a sales pitch!
- Have a planned approach to research, but do not lead the participant to respond in certain ways.
- Do not argue with the participant! Be polite and keep to the aims of the research.
- Remember, the aim of the research is to test the design for usability, so that issues, problems, ideas for improvements etc, can be identified and worked on prior to actual development of the product itself.
- Other than when specific set tasks are required, when searching for opinions and general feedback, ask open-ended questions, or try the “or not?” technique to avoid to leading participants to respond in a certain way.
- Don’t critique the “performance” of the participant afterwards, they are not sitting a test or examination, merely assisting you with research! Provide the incentive at the end of the research session if one was promised, and thank them for their time.
- Choose a reasonably quiet venue for the research to take place so that the participant can remain focused and not distracted by noises.

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