Step by Step in Conducting a Usability Study for Your Portfolio Project

Conducting a usability study is key to understanding how usres experience and perceive your design. The feedback you receive during a usability study helps you measure how well your product meets the needs of your users. This article will help to set up and ready for your own usability study for your portfolio project. Before we start, you might need to take into consideration the benefits and limitations of moderated versus unmoderated usability studies. Detemining which one is best for your research plan. Plus, you might to also consider note-taking as below.

Photo by Owen Michael Grech on Unsplash

Why note taking first? Note-taking is crucial in your research study. Even though the session is recorded, all team members and including you need to take note. This allows team to capture whatever they think is important for their part. For example, if the user find the button confusing because of wording, then UX writer can note on that and make changes accordingly. You can take note use sticker notes or taking not by hand or using spreadsheet.

Tips for taking notes using spreadsheet: considering the color system when using spreadsheet for note taking. The color-coding system ensure that specific tasks that is already outline in the research goal are being valuated. Team members can add aditional if needed. It also helps in summarizing for analysis and synthesis in the next stage.

Color code to consider:

  • Blue font for observations about how easy or difficult it was for your participants to complete the assigned tasks.
  • Red font for observations about participants’ opinions on the product’s usefulness.
  • Green font for observations about the participants’ tone of voice or attitude while completing the tasks in the study.
  • Black font for additional themes that were noticed, or for suggestions on places where users got stuck.

Step 1 – Develop prompts to guide users through your study

In this step, you would use the script that you prepare in the usability research plan. You might want to check this article on how to write scripts for user interviews. Using the sample script to determine whether the tasks are best completed as part of a moderated or an unmoderated uability study. Then review and edit the prompt to make sure that the prompts reflect the tasks in the sample script.

Step 2 – Prepare your spreadsheet template for note-taking

Anticipate observations you might scan for and record them in the “Observations” column (Column A) of your note taking spreadsheet. Using 1 as a true statement if each observation is true and blank cell for the false statement. Using the color-coding convetion above to categorize the observations. Leave additional rows for unanticipated observations and suggestions from your test participants with the black font color rows.

Step 3 – Interview at least five test participants

Choose five friends or family members to test your low-fidelity prototype with. They will be your test participants. Provide your test users with access to the Figma prototype.

Step 4 – Record your observations

It is time to conduct the test! Be sure to carefully observe your test participants’ behaviors, questions and comments. If a tester has questions about how your prototype functions, do not answer them until after the interview is complete. Watching the test user explore the app to find the answer can provide you with even more insights. Listen and watch facial expressions for confusion, frustration, positive tone, and other reactions.

Once you are done with the note-taking, it is best to get organized and reviewed your notes. If something is unclear, you can watch the recording or clarify it your team members.

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