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Usability Testing

The gold standard of user research​: Identify problems, compare interfaces, learn about the target users’ behavior and preferences

Image by Storyset from Freepik

Evaluative method
Suggested Time

Quite variable. Minimum 3-5 days (planning & scheduling, testing, analysis)​

Required Expertise

Medium (quantitative) to High (qualitative)​


Your product or prototype, clipboards and pens (in-situ), recording devices, testing platform (remote)​


Testers, Moderator, observers, maybe assistants to take notes or record​

Nice to have
This method can be applied to all types of innovations.


Generally, usability testing involves asking users or experts to perform tasks using your product or service and then observe and/or record their experience. This module deals with usability testing with users, sometimes also called user testing. ​

How much time

Highly depending on your testing approach, you must count with minimum 3-5 days for planning/scheduling, testing and evaluating results if you already know the methods and have easy access to testers.​


A professional moderator can set an inviting tone for the testers to share their thoughts and feelings as well as avoid bias during the tests. Observers don’t need to come with a lot of prior experience but should be well briefed. It is a good idea to include key stakeholders like partners or management to create awareness and empathy in the developing team.​


Usability testing helps you understand how well your target group can accomplish what they want to do with your product or service. It is a must before launch to see how your users interact with your product. Usability testing helps you to avoid long user onboarding and expensive marketing for a product that does not work for your users.​


When you have a functional or paper prototype or want to understand usage of your launched product.​

Why it’s useful

Essential to understand usage and pitfalls from the point of view of your users​

Potential challenges

You might need to rethink your design/approach, especially after a first usability test. No need to start a test if this is not an option.​

Is this for you?

Get step-by-step guidance, expert tips and best practice examples for effective Usability Testing.

Mariette McCampbell - Independent UX researcher

“Usability testing helps you to identify flaws in your design: Can people operate your innovation and do they find their way through the menus? Are they able to get the result they seek? What do they struggle with? Is something slowing them down? Frustrating them? Discouraging them? But also, what is going with ease?”

Image by Mariette McCampbell

Why Researchers Find This Useful

Rhys Manners - Data scientist, IITA

“We used usability testing and user interviews to understand how people interact with a mobile-phone based system designed to collect dietary information at high frequencies. I was amazed by how much we learned, just by observing and asking. Assuming a system is easy to use and simple to understand, doesn't make it so..”

Image by Mariette Campbell

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