14 Important Usability Testing Methods [2021 Approach]

Usability testing is the most important part of designing a website, app, or any other type of software.It is a method of determining how easy a user can use a product by performing a series of tasks to test its functionality.


What Is Usability Testing?


Usability testing is a process of evaluating the app, website functionality. It involves observing real-time prospect interaction with the application, website and analyzing their behavior and reaction to the product or service.  You can start your usability test by watching the session recordings or hiring a usability testing lab. Usability testing is an essential step to ensure that you develop an efficient, effective, and delightful experience for your app audience.


The clients are generally observers specialists of the reach team working for a business. The usability testing goal is to reveal complexity areas and uncover chances to improve the overall user experience. According to research, five prospects is a good number to discover 80% of usability problems. The exact number of the prospect required depends on the complexity of the app and usability goals. Evernote has increased their user retention by 15% on multiple devices by adapting the usability test. More usability test attendees will increase planning, cost, data analysis, and participant management.

Why a Usability Test?

The purposes of usability testing vary, but it usually comprise:


  • Identifying design problems/obstacles in the product or service silver
  • Discovering the possibilities of website or application betterment.
  • Study the target prospect’s behavior and preferences with the application built.
  • To Identify several other usability issues or bugs.
  • Ensuring the app or website completes the primary functional and efficient customer experience.


Usability Testing Techniques

There are two methodologies of usability testing available. 

  • Remote Usability Testing
  • Laboratory Usability Testing


Laboratory Usability Testing: 

In this method, the testing is executed separately in a lab room with observers. Tester assigns the task to perform. The observer's role is to monitor the tester's behavior, and the outcomes are recorded as reports. The observer remains silent until the testing completes. Both the observers and tester are physically located in the same place. 


Remote Usability Testing:


In this testing, the tester and observers are located remotely. Testers remotely perform the assigned tasks and access the system for under test. The automated software records tester's voice, screen activity, tester's facial expressions. Observers analyze and report the findings of the tests. 

Benefits Of Website Usability Testing


Your site can benefit through usability testing regardless of where the product is on the development cycle, from prototyping right to finished product. You can keep on performing the customer experience testing as you repeat and improve your application.


Performing the testing process with real users helps you on the followings:


Validate Your Prototype


Take the user on the development process early and test their behavior before moving towards the final application. Understand what is the user trying to do? And is the user able to understand the purpose of the application?


Testing the prototype first and validating the ideas or application concept will help you plan the product's anticipated functionality before completion.


Validate That Your Product/Service Matches Customer Expectations


Once the application development completes, perform the usability test again and ensure every functionality works and how it is friendly for the clients, and ensure there is anything missing on the interface.


Recognize Problems With Complex Flows


On the off chance that the prospect needs to perform multiple steps, your website functions. For instance, if your e-commerce website and the check out process as an example, begin the usability test to ensure every functionality works without any flaws until the order completes. 


Provides Additional Other Information For Improvements


User testing also provides the (Why) reason from the data, for example: let's take a heat map. It will show where the visitor pays more attention to the website and the crucial elements on the landing page.  But by observing the visitor's action, you can also understand why the client ignores specific segments and can make betterments based on the results. 


Even You Can Identify the Minor Defects


Along with the usability errors, usability testing assists you in discovering the smaller bugs. You can find grammatical errors, broken links, HTTP Errors or site errors, and more.

These minor errors don't matter much; collectively fixing these errors, making your website more trusted and professional. 



Develops User Insight


Individuals doest don't think much during development from a user perspective. The usability test is a great way to find how the app works for the real-time user, and you can make improvements and enhance functionality based on the actual client results. 


Identify the Complexity and Resolving Them 


With testing, you can identify the error; on the other hand, you can also discover where the prospect struggles on the website or application. When it's evident that clients are misunderstood, it's essential to clarify and make it right. Watching the customer feedback or short videos of user testing discoveries will be a powerful method to identify the user-facing complex issue and make an instant decision on error fixing among the team.


Eventually Gives a Better User Experience (UX) 

The success of the application depends on the excellent user experience. Usability test helps you find the issues and aids you in developing the most user-friendly website/ app. 


Types of Usability Testing


Qualitative Usability Testing 

Qualitative usability testing mainly focuses on gathering insights and findings on how the visitors/ prospects are utilizing the application and website. It is best to identify problems like user experience etc., this type of qualitative usability test is more common than the quantitative test. 


Quantitative Usability Testing 

This type of usability testing focuses on collecting metrics that illustrate the client experience. The most two fundamental metrics that are gathered are time on task and task success. It is the most beneficial testing for getting benchmarks.


The number of clients needed for a usability test varies depending on the type of study. 



Remote vs. In-Person Testing

Remote usability tests are more popular than the in-person testing as it requires less time and money. There are two kinds of remote usability tests. One is Moderated, and another is Unmoderated.  


Remote Moderated Usability Tests

Remote moderated usability tests are more similar to in-person testing. The observer still interacts with the user and asks them to perform the tasks. Even the observer and attendee will be physically located at a different place. The remote moderate testings are commonly performed with the help of screen-sharing software like Skype, Crazy Egg, HotJar, GoToMeeting, and more. 


Remote Unmoderated Remote Usability Tests

In Remote unmoderated remote usability tests, the observer and the participants will not interact as like in-person and moderated tests. 

The tester utilizes an online remote testing tool and assigns the task to the end-user with a short description. 


Later, the customer completed the shared task on time, and the testing tool delivers to the tester and permits the follow-up questions. After the customers complete the application/ website test, the researcher will receive a session recording and metrics like task success or completion. The best online user testing tools are BugReporting, Userzoom, Testbirds, UXCam, UserTesting, Lookback, etc.



A/B Testing


A/B testing is usually used to test the landing pages and websites. Two different page designs (A and B) are tested over time. The data are gathered based on the visitor's performance. The end goal of the testing is a sale, lead generation, or conversion. The data analysis shows which design A or B has a higher rate of visitor conversion. Then the best design is incorporated on the website. You can perform split testing to continuous improvement for better visitor conversion. There are many third-party tools and software solutions available to run this usability testing. It isn't easy to run these tests without a tool like Optimizely, VWO, SiteSpect, AB Tasty, and more.


A/B testing is effective and provides data to make better conclusions. In a multivariate test, you test different design elements and decide the design winners for the website. A multivariate test is not more accurate than an A/B test but beneficial in assessing the designs.


Design Prototype Testing


Prototype testing is used to test complete user workflow or wireframes. The user and the observed on their desktop or mobile device to evaluate a design's viability before or during the development cycle. 


We recommend you begin this testing shortly once you have a rough mockup of an idea. Continue the prototype test once it gets updated.  Getting user feedback on the early stage of product development will assure chances of website and mobile app success rate. 


UX/UI designers will build a prototype and design workflows. Prototype testing helps in fixing the usability issues before the development begins. Here are the  guidelines to follow before starting the prototype test:

  • Pick the prototyping tools like Axure for UX/UI designers. There are several prototyping tools available on the market. Identify the one that suits your business needs.
  • Determine the goal and budget for the testing.
  •  It is best to perform the testing in the early stage, so there might be several specific betterments on the products.
  • Select some measuring tools like Loop11 to measure the prototype. 





Eyetracking Usability Test

An eye-tracking usability test is a particular type of testing in which a user is placed in front of the camera while they use the website or application and tract their gazes and eye movement.


To perform this testing, you will need third-party tools such as iMotions.  This tool tracks the user's eye movements along with the keystrokes and mouse moves. This test is generally performed with specified group users (10 or more users), and the data are analyzed, and decisions are made to improve the UX performance and designs. This type of testing process is expensive. 


Guerilla Testing


Guerilla  UX usability testing techniques involve selecting test attendees randomly from public locations like malls, coffee shops, etc.  In this testing, users are asked to complete a quick usability test to gain small discounts or incentives. It is one of the fastest techniques to collect a large number of qualitative data. The design team uses guerrilla testing to conduct ‘ad-hoc’ research. 


There is no need to hire participants in this testing, and it doesn't involve any additional cost. It is the cheapest method of performing usability tests, and it takes 10 -15 min. You will be spending only the participants’ incentives fee; it might be a $10 gift card. 


Lab Usability Testing 

This usability testing method involves asking users to complete tasks on mobile devices/computers while inside a usability testing lab. While participants perform the task, the moderator will observe the user behavior and inquire about them. All attendee finish the test by following the same conditions, and then the results are compared. 


Like moderated tests, lab tests are also beneficial for the business that wants to gather customer feedback about the product or service in the early development process. You also use this testing to produce ideas to resolve customer difficulties on the application. As you monitor what works and what doesn’t for the customer during the test process. the average time for the lab test is 

20 to 30 min/user, and the average participant can be 8 to 12. 


5-Second Test

This type of testing is a qualitative research session that allows you to gather the user’s first impression and reaction about the design. 


Practice five-second testing to evaluate whether a design on prototype or wireframe, website, the app can promptly convey information to a target audience. This test is performed before the application launch.  You can perform additional testings like A/B testing for design decisions and then proceed with  5-Sec testing. The average time for the test is 5 sec, and you can involve 20-50 customers. 


The average cost for the premium features test is $99/month and $2 for every user they hire for you. If you need to target explicit segments, then it’s cost $3/ per person.


Card Sorting


In the card sorting testing method, the user explains how they expect the site's look like their layout, navigation, etc. 

A business can go for an open card sort to begin sorting the cards based on the concepts. Clients are then allowed to organize these cards based on their personal preferences.


Some companies adapt for the closed card sort where users can sort a card into previously existing groups. Card sorting is a usability testing process for websites to understand whether the layout and navigational structure meet the user's expectations.


It encourages you to understand how clients would order specific kinds of products or services into classes. It helps you know how your customers would organize certain types of products or services into categories. 


The average time for sorting the 30 cards user wants 20 mins and they work on  50 items; it takes 30 mins. The average number of attendees for the testing will be 15, and it cost 30$ per user/month. 


Tree Testing 

Tree testing is also called reverse card sorting or a closed card. In tree testing, it involves participators grouping the items or cards with a current set of categories. Users like card arranging will likewise clarify why they have put a card inside a relevant group.


Tree testing is another kind of site usability testing techniques. It is used to identify how the site is realistic and navigational structures are. i.e., whether it helps the client find what they need. Use this technique before designing a navigational system or page layout to use the best menu categories or labels.

The average test duration is 15-20 min and requires 50 participants. the average cost of this testing will $100/month per user 



Screen Recording 


This kind of usability testing approach utilizes applications to record the actions of visitors. The testing is performed remotely. The user of the product performs screen recording and completing tasks remotely. The recording captures the visitor's clicks, customer moves, etc. Along with the customer voice recordings. The average time of the screen recording is 15 minutes, and the average participant needed for the testing is 5 to 10. The average cost of screen recording usability test cost around $100$/ per month for ten users.  


When usability testing procedures are performed correctly, it will prevent businesses from releasing or developing a product that doesn't interest the user. 


In this way, user research can save time and resources and develop a product that meets the customer’s expectations. 



Best Usability Testing Tools for Happy Customer


BugReporting is a fast tool for website feedback or customer report and quality assurance feedback from clients. With the help of software, you can launch the website without sacrificing the quality, with a single 1-click code installation with your site and application. It doesn't require any coding knowledge to integrate the software and the website.


The BugReporting will generate unique code for each website, and you have to paste the code in between the <script> tag on the webflow or WordPress, etc. The user record feedbacks are auto-synced to the favorite work tools like Slack, Trello, Jira, etc. 


The Clients can click the feedback button on the right bottom corner of the website or app and start recording their session video and voice annotation, and they can also add the description. Once the client submits their feedback, it will reach the dashboard, and the testing and development team can prioritize and work on the user reports. The Bug Reporting is a closed-loop user testing. The software automatically notifies the user who has raised the error message as a bug resolved.


You can custom the feedback button based on your brand and the color code of the website. BugReporting is one of the best and simple user experiences testing software. With this software's help, you can easily record the user’s computer or mobile device remotely without any additional equipment.


What makes BugReporting unique is that you can join the live testing session and communicate with the user while exploring the design error. After the user tests the website or app and recording after the testing has been completed. As screen recording, the development team can look in detail at the customer feedback. They can look in particular even if they can forward the unnecessary inputs and pause the recording to analyze the user-reported errors. BugReporting user tests are done in real-time, and the clients can discuss directly with the developer through their audios. The prospect has an immediate answer for their blocker on their process on the website. The quick fixes will increase the user satisfaction of your site and mobile application. Start your 14-day free trial without credit card information, and you can cancel them at any time. Begin your usability test with the best screen recording software BugReporting today!

Vaibhav Namburi

I'm the Founder of BugReporting. I've helped build multiple multi-million dollar companies and I love approaching Start Ups through product-lead growth