Have you ever used a Usability Test? Usability Test is a method of User Experience research that can be done quickly depending on the method. If you do a user test and observe how users use websites or products, you can get insights not only on the design side but also on contents and features.
Because there are a lot of tools for doing a User Test, you might feel it's difficult to master the tools, but in fact, with only a few papers, a pen and a smartphone, you can easily test it. This time, I will introduce the User Test conducted in the UX & Interface class in my school. In this project I improved the usability of the mobile site and reduced the conversion time by 78%.
In this project, I did two tests on the website of virtual client Lemezon.ca. First of all, a simple user test with paper, pen and smartphone as mentioned above. The other is a rich test using a tool to easily design a web page called Balsamiq, a tool to add simple functions to the design called Marvel, and a tool to record the look of Usability Test called Lookback.io.
Our client Lemezon has an issue. They started their E-commerce business 20 years ago. Since then, they kept increasing the number of customers, but they expect that the growth rate will decrease soon. For the moment, they wanted to renew their website for more user-centric design.
They planed two concepts for the renewal.
1. Cherish the customer
They stated this because they wanted their customers to visit the website more, and buy something frequently.
2. Mobile first
For their old website, a lot of customers visited using smartphones. So mobile first was essential for this website.
To solve this issue, I did 3 steps User Test. The reason why I did those steps is that it is a more cost effective way to design the interface.
To do the Usability Test, first of all, I designed a paper prototype. Paper prototype is a detailed type of wireframe. It has not only lines and squares like a wireframe, but also monochrome images, labels and contents. So participants of the Usability Test should be able to understand how they have to act to complete a task without my instruction while the test.
Then I prepared a task. It will be given to the participants at the beginning of the test. Then I observed user trying to complete the task. So basically, the task should be something giving me insights about the website usability.
After I finished preparation, the first Usability Test was started.
3 participants tested the Low-Fi prototype individually. Then I recorded both their faces and their screens.
From the First Usability Test, 2 of them look like struggling to use a search bar. In addition, all of them couldn’t figure out how to select a “Change Shipping Address” button.
After Low-Fi test, I modified its design based on the test’s result.
Then I traced it using a prototyping tool called Balsamiq. Balsamiq is a strong tool because it has tons of ready made design elements such as Buttons, Contact Forms, Social Media Icons and even a Browser Window. In addition, it's really easy to use the tool. It’s like a PowerPoint so I could have done the job in a short time.
Once I finished the digital prototyping, I exported the images, then uploaded on to the other tool called Marvel. Marvel gives prototype image functions, so the prototype is now clickable. Please try to use the interactive prototype made with Marvel.
Then I started the final test. To record the face and screen of the user, I used Lookback.io. This is a free plug-in of Marvel allows recording and storage of a Usability Test. The only one weak point of this tool is that it requires the participant to download an app into their smartphone. But other than that, it’s perfect!
3 participants tested the Hi-Fi prototype individually.
All of them said the website should have more originality. In addition, two of them mentioned about the “Change Shipping Address” button again. So I fixed them.
When I tested Low-Fi version, the participants took 6 minutes average to finish task. Then the final version, the participant took only 1 minute and 20 seconds to complete it.
78% faster than the first prototype
My client(instructor) was satisfied with seeing this result.