Usability testing can start at $30,000 and takes at least a few weeks, if not longer. Not an option for companies trying to rush a product to launch on a limited budget. Luckily, 80 percent of what you would learn from these studies can be gained in less than a day. Rule of thumb: You can get solid feedback on a user interface after observing 5 to 10 potential customers trying to use it. You can test more, but additional testing seldom raises significant issues not identified by the first 10 customers.
If outsourced, usability testing usually starts at approximately $30,000 and takes at least a few weeks, if not longer. Not an option for most companies trying to rush a product to launch on a limited budget. Luckily, 80 percent of what you would learn from these studies can be gained in less than a day.
The rule of thumb, which I have experienced to be true, is that you can usually get solid feedback on a user interface after observing 5 to 10 potential customers trying to use it. If you have time to test with more people, it will help you feel more comfortable with the results of your testing. However, additional testing seldom raises significant issues that the first 10 people did not identify.
So, where do you find the guinea pigs? There are four sources of people for testing that can usually be tapped on short notice and who are willing to spend an hour playing with your product in exchange for pizza.
Running the Tests
Given that you have already spent time and put in the effort to get the subjects and schedule a conference room, you might as well invest an extra hour or two to make sure that you are prepared. Avoid doing improvisational testing (that is, sitting down with a subject and winging it as you go). Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your tests.
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