Usability Testing Goals: Knowing 'Why' Before 'How'

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Figure out your direction before testing designs

Like all significant undertakings, you need to go into usability testing with a plan. But as you’ll see, a little extra time planning at the beginning can pay off in the end.

By following a few simple guidelines, you’ll know what to expect, what to look for, and what to take away from your usability testing.

usability testing illustration

Source: Stippen Consulting

Obviously everyone wants to optimize the results of their usability testing. But to do that, you must first know what you’re testing for. We’ll explain how to define your testing objectives and set your usability metrics.

Defining Your Usability Goals

There’s no question about what Waldo looks like before you open the book, but all too often companies jump the gun with their usability tests by not knowing what they’re looking for, or even why.

For this, the first step in usability research should always be knowing what you are trying to find out — but that’s not as easy as it sounds. Firstly you need to categorize your testing goals and know what type of data is most appropriate.

1. Categorizing Your Goals

Sometimes it helps to break out your different objectives into categories. Michael Margolis, a UX Researcher at Google Ventures Design Studio, believes the first step to determining objectives is knowing the right questions to ask (he lists them in categories).

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