Usability research is conducted to ensure that target users are able to use an application or device for its intended purpose. We conduct both individual usability labs, which are one-on-one sessions with a participant in front of an application or device, as well as usability lab/focus group hybrids, in which eight participants sit in front of eight applications or devices in a testing room.
During an individual usability lab, a target user interacts with an application (e.g., a Web site, a kiosk menu, etc.) or a device (e.g., a DVR, a remote control, a mobile telephone, etc.), describing to a researcher likes and dislikes while observers watch the behaviors from a viewing room. When possible, the viewing room is wired with a mirror display of the application or device that is being tested. Target users also attempt to complete a series of pre-defined tasks designed to test the architecture and core functionality of the application or device. Individual usability labs are ideal for exploring labeling, expectations, navigation, and personal preferences.
The second methodology is the usability lab/focus group hybrid. In it, eight participants sit in front of eight applications or devices in a testing room. Target users discuss their preferences as a group, explore the application or device and complete tasks individually and process their reactions to each task as a group. This methodology allows observers to see many target users in a relatively short period of time. Also, the usability lab/focus group hybrid can yield ideas for new features as participants feed on each other’s expectations and reactions.
New Amsterdam Consulting has conducted usability tests for Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network and Smart Bomb Interactive, among others. To learn how usability testing research can help your organization or to request a proposal, contact us at email@example.com.