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Usability Testing

In this section, we will learn about usability testing, why we need it while testing an application, component of usability testing, etc.

Following are the topics, which we will understand in this section:

What is usability testing?

This is also an essential part of non-functional testing.

Checking the user-friendliness, efficiency, and accuracy of the application is known as Usability Testing."

It is a wide testing where we need to have an application knowledge.

When we use usability testing, it makes sure that the developed software is easy while using the system without facing any problem and makes end-user life easier.

Usability testing is testing, which checks the defect in the end-user interaction of software or the product.

It is also known as User Experience (UX) Testing.

Usability testing can be done at the design stage of the Software development life cycle (SDLC), and that helps us to get more clarity of the user's needs.

Here, the user-friendliness can be described in many aspects, such as:

  • Easy to understand
  • Easy to access
  • Look & feel
  • Faster to Access
  • Effective Navigation
  • Good Error Handling

Easy to understand

  • All the features of software or applications must be visible to the end-users.

Easy to Access

  • A user-friendly application should be accessible by everyone.

Easy to Access

  • The look and feel of the application should be excellent and attractive to get the user's interest.
  • The GUI of the software should be good because if the GUI is not well, the user may be lost his/her interest while using the application or the software.
  • The quality of the product is up to the mark as given by the client.

Faster to Access

  • The software should be faster while accessing, which means that the response time of the application is quick.
  • If the response time is slow, it might happen that the user got irritated. We have to ensure that our application will be loaded within 3 to 6 seconds of the response time.

Effective Navigation

Effective navigation is the most important aspect of the software.

Some of the following aspects for effective navigation:

  • Good Internal Linking
  • Informative header and footer
  • Good search feature

Good Error Handling

  • Handling of error at a coding level, make sure that the software or the application is bug-free and robust.
  • By showing the correct error message will help to enhance the user experience and usability of the application.
  • Examples of usability testing

    Let us see some examples, where we understand the use of usability testing.


    We are taking one banking application where we produce the application for the manager.

    Note: Here, the manager is the end-user.

    Now, if the end-user (manager) starts using the application in front of the test engineers

    Suppose two test engineer sits at the back of the end-user while he/she is using the application and takes the report of the defect as a developer to check whether the end-user is using the application in a right way or not.

    And the end-user (manager) will check the application step by step because he/she knows that the Test engineer is watching him/her.

    Note: Generally, the professional test engineers do not perform usability testing because they know where exactly the particular feature will fail and how it works.
    Therefore, a test engineer becomes user-friendly with the application.
    So only the end-user should do the usability testing for better results.

    Sometimes Test engineer has to do usability testing for the following reasons:

    • There is no money to spend on usability testing.
    • Do not want to outsource to another company.

    Example 2:

    In this example, the Director of the company goes and collects the software (suppose a gaming software) and distributes it to the various end-users like employees, friends, etc.

    Now, these end-users will use particular game software and give their feedback to the Director.

    This Director looks into their feedback, and see the major feedback, then consolidates all the feedback and makes one report.

    If a particular feature for all the end-users has been reported, then that should be considered, or if the feature has been reported only by 1 or 2 end-user, then it becomes minor.

    Once the consolidation of the major and minor bugs is done, they will be fixed based on the requirement of the director.

    If it is a major bug, then it will fix first, or if it is minor, then it could be delayed or fixed in the next release.

    Note: All the applications cannot be given to the end-users because it depends on the applications or the software needs.

    Why we need usability testing?

    We need usability testing because usability testing is to build a system with great user experience. Usability is not only used for software development or website development, but it is also used for product designing.

    And Customers must be comfortable with your application with the following parameters.

    • The flow of an Application should be good
    • Navigation steps should be clear
    • Content should be simple
    • The layout should be clear
    • Response time

    And we can also test the different features in usability testing given as follows:

    • How easy it is using the application
    • How easy to learn application

    Components of usability testing

    Following are the various components of usability testing:

    Components Description
    Efficiency The end-user who is an expert takes the minimum amount of time to perform his/her basic task.
    Memorability The memorability of an application is good, When we are not asking an application for a span of time, and return to the application or trying to do the basic task without any help.
    Or If we are not able to perform a basic task without any help after a duration of the time period, then we can say that the memorability of an application is not good.
    Learnability The end-user takes a minimum amount of time to learn the basic task.
    Satisfaction The Customer must be satisfied with the application and feel free to use the application.
    Errors Here, we try to help the end-users to resolve those errors which they made earlier and perform their tasks again.

    Usability testing Checklist

    The usability testing checklist contains all the documents which are related to usability testing.

    To make the usability testing successful, we will prepare the checklist, which means that "what are the points to check". Or if we do not make a checklist, we may miss some features in the application.

    • Create a checklist
    • Review checklist
    • Execute a checklist / Approve checklist
    • Derive checklist report (Execution Report)

    Let see one example where we are creating a checklist for an application:

    If we take the one E-commerce application and prepare the checklist, it would be like as below:

    • All the images should have the alt tag (Tooltip).
    • The Login feature should have the Forget password link.
    • All the pages should have a link to the homepage of the application.
    • Should be able to access all the components.

    Like this, we can drive as many checklists as possible based on the product or the application.

    Bugs in usability testing

    When we test the application or the software with the help of usability testing, we may encounter some bugs. These bugs could be the Path holes and Potential bugs.

    Path holes & potential bugs

    Path holes and potential bugs are those, which are visible to the developers and the test engineers while performing usability testing.

    Advantage of usability testing

    The advantages of usability testing are as follows:

    • Better quality product
    • Customer should be eager to use the application
    • Enhance the end-user satisfaction
    • Make the system efficient and effective

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