To start with let’s talk about terminology – we prefer to talk about a usability guide not a script. Script suggests a rigid inflexible structure – a list of things that you are going to fire at the tester.
Facilitating usability testing can be a daunting prospect. How can I get through all these tasks, stay on time and listen to what the tester is saying?
Topics: Usability Testing
We want to undertake projects for clients that will save them money and maximise the success of the project. However, mostly we end up testing websites when they're live; usually there's been no user research or testing beforehand, and all the design and build costs have been incurred. That's not an issue if the site is coming up for redevelopment (when the research will inform the new site), but often these are sites that have only been recently launched (or re-launched), meaning there's no spare budget for revisions. If the site works perfectly and achieves its aims then fine, but regrettably that's rarely the case. Occasionally we get to test sites just before launch, which means that some revisions can be made to increase site efficiency and effectiveness. However, often, the testing surfaces fundamental issues about the site that would ideally require a significant rethink. Either way, there's often limited budget and time to launch a site that delivers a good user experience and good outcomes for the site owner.
Graham Charlton's interesting article for eConsultancy (How retailers make January sales easier for customers, posted 5th January 2011) made us think how different user behaviour can be during sale times. Users are more inclined to be in browse mode, browsing the sale items with no specific requirements in mind, but keen to hunt down a bargain. Conversely, they may have pre-researched their sales requirements and be very specific in their search - looking for a specific electrical item at a discount or a particular dress for a special occasion for example. They therefore want to be able to be as broad or as specific as they choose when filtering sale products.