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Usability Testing Roundup: All the Resources You'll Ever Need…Probably

Usability testing is often a crucial tool in any UXR’s toolbox. Learn how to approach and improve upon this linchpin skill.

Words by Kris Kopac, Compilation by Ben Wiedmaier, Visuals by Allison Corr

Usability testing hits on all kinds of important organizational goals, from learning how users interact with the product to surfacing where bugs and complicated friction points lie in wait.

Whether this is the first time you are conducting a usability test or the fiftieth, there are always ways to improve your craft and innovate better ways to get results.

This roundup guides you through several different levels of usability testing, including what to do after usability testing has served its purpose. Bookmark it for later, pull it up whenever you need it—these guides are for you.

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Getting started

Approaching usability testing for the first time may seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, we have all kinds of comprehensive guides, templates, and articles chock-full of examples that will leave you feeling knowledgeable and prepared.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Usability TestingUsability tests are a powerful way to understand how users interact with a service or product. This guide shows you how to avoid common pitfalls.Article and downloadable template
Train Your Team to Usability Test in Just an AfternoonTeaching your team to do tactical research can be time-saving and career-changing. Here's an outline for an interactive workshop you can run today.Article
A Never-Fail Usability Testing ChecklistMake sure every usability test goes off without a hitch. We’ve built a robust checklist to ensure you’re prepared for everything prior, during, and after the test.Article and downloadable template
The Key to Successful Usability Testing: Don't Just Listen To Users, Observe Them

Avoid these common usability testing pitfalls by observing, not just listening, to your participants.

How to Create a UX Scorecard in 8 StepsIf you're faced with questions such as "How does our product compare to others in the industry?" or "How has our product changed over time?", try creating a UX scorecard.Article
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Improving your craft

Once you've gotten the basics of usability testing down, it's time to look at how you can improve. From scrutinizing metrics to architecting more effective tasks, these articles will help you sharpen and polish your skills.

How to Write More Effective Usability Testing TasksConstruct more realistic usability testing scenarios without sacrificing reliable data. See which mistakes to avoid and explore our example tasks.Article
11 Usability Testing Metrics That Will Enrich ReportingUse these 11 metrics the next time you need to support your qualitative insights with quantitative data.Article
Level Up Your Usability Tests with SUS and SEQSee the pros and use cases for each technique and which caveats to look out for.Article
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Learning from results

Sometimes learning from others' challenges and successes can help you better plan for future projects. See how companies like Dropbox, Verizon, and T-Mobile employed usability testing with thought-provoking results.

Moving from “Quick-Fix Usability” to “Product-Shaping Usability” at DropboxIf you want to be really thorough with your evaluative research—run your usability tests over weeks, not hours.Case study
How Compass Digital Labs Delivers Insights Under Breakneck DeadlinesIdeally, you have a few weeks to run your usability tests. Sometimes, you need to speed things up.Field report
Verizon Tests Physical Prototypes Remotely with dscoutTesting the user experience of durable goods isn't always obvious in a remote setting. Here's how Verizon achieved it with dscout.Case study and video
How T-Mobile Used dscout to Harness Qual Data on Their Team’s (Lean) TimelineT-Mobile's Andrea Lindeman takes us through two transformative use cases for longitudinal, in-context research.Field report
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Moving beyond usability

While usability testing is a great tool to have, everything looks like a nail if you only have a hammer. These articles help you consider the merits of different types of testing, and when to employ them.

When Usability Testing Has Done Its Job, Consider Visual Testing NextUsability testing has its time and place—but sometimes it can't compare with effective visual testing.Article
3 Effective Methods for Content Tests (Beyond Usability Testing)When testing content, usability often identifies the problem—without giving you much direction on how to fix it. Try a cloze test, recall-based test, or highlighter test instead.Article
Comparative Usability Testing: A Key Method for Actionable Design FeedbackHere's how comparative usability testing can help you decide which designs work for your users and which don't.Article
Preference Testing vs Usability Testing (and When It Goes Wrong)Preference testing can often result in misleading data. The reason? Hidden biases that highlight reflexive ways that people make choices.Article
Set Your Product's Course: Try Concept TestingWhether you’re kicking off the discovery phase or in the midst of product validation, a concept test can help determine if your team is heading in the right direction.Article
The Power of Prototyping: Tackling “Wicked” Problems with DesignPrototypes are often used as a tool for testing assumptions, but they can bring so much more to the table. Discover how great prototypes can provoke new ways of thinking and ultimately drive social change.Article
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Kris is a content creator and editor based in Chicago.

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