Arunkumar Khannur's Software Testing Knowledge Center

13.6. Usability Assessment Process

Usability is an iterative process that focuses on a product's use rather than on its features and functions. It involves knowing the actual users and the work they do. Usability engineering and assessment involves a variety of techniques that can provide important information about how customers work with your product. These techniques include:
  • User and task observations- observing users at their jobs, identifying their typical work tasks and procedures, analyzing their work processes
  • Interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires- meeting with users, finding out about their preferences, experiences, and needs
  • Benchmarking and competitive analysis- evaluating the usability of similar products in the marketplace
  • Participatory design- participating in design sessions, bringing the user's perspective to the early stages of development
  • Paper prototyping- including users early in the development process through prototypes prepared on paper, before coding begins
  • Creation of guidelines- helping to assure consistency in design through development of standards and guidelines
  • Heuristic evaluations- evaluating software against accepted usability principles and making recommendations to enhance usability
  • Usability testing- observing actual users performing real tasks with the application, recording what they do, analyzing the results, and recommending appropriate changes.
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Arunkumar Khannur, Software Testing - Techniques and Applications, Published by Pearson Publications, 2011 (ISBN:978-81-317-5836-6; Pages:341 + xxii)
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