Copyright

Usability Testing Methods: Definition & Hallway Usability

Instructor: David Gloag
Comprehensive testing is an important part of product development these days. In this lesson, we'll take a look at usability testing, what it is, methods for doing it, and how it compares to hallway usability.

Passing the Test

We live in a world where simply making a product isn't enough. It must work, and work as expected. For example, do we accept a vehicle that doesn't steer correctly? Do we accept a television whose color is off? Or do we accept a piece of clothing that doesn't fit? Not likely!

It's in our nature to refuse anything that doesn't measure up, or meet a specific need. So how do manufacturers guarantee success? How do they ensure that a product will satisfy customer expectations? They use many forms of testing, of course, and one in particular, usability testing.

What is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is that part of verification and validation (V&V) that focuses on having actual end users test a product. Its purpose is twofold:

  1. To determine if a product works as planned.
  2. To determine whether a product meets the needs of the target user.

Usability testing is becoming a significant portion of testing strategies today, as manufacturers strive to satisfy every aspect of their customer's needs.

As an example, consider the last time you bought a product at the store, but weren't really sure it was right for you. You took it home and tried it out in the exact situations that the product was meant for. Did you like it? Did it perform as expected? If the answer was no to either question, you take it back. That try-out process is usability testing.

Methods

Because usability testing methods are somewhat unique depending on the product being tested, there are many of them out there. Let's talk about the two main categories:

  • Lab-Based - in this category, testing is done a controlled situation, such as a lab, and usability testers go to that lab to perform the testing. For example, a company that builds a software product may set up a lab with several stations that have the software installed, and ask the testers to come to the lab and try it out.
  • Remote - in this category, testing is done on location, such as in the tester's home. The product is question is sent to the tester, who uses it in the actual situation the product was meant to operate in.

Remote testing is done when the environment figures significantly in how the product is used. For example, software manufacturers often use remote usability testing because remote personal computers will differ from those in the office, and the variation can tell them things about how the software reacts to different environments. Remote testing can also be cheaper than organizing and providing the necessary equipment for a lab-based test.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support