Sunday, May 22, 2005

We dont require costly usability labs

We may all agree that most big-ticket usability problems lie in poor navigation - insufficient scent of information, poor organization, poor understanding of tasks and subsequent task design, etc.

To test navigation, in most cases, we do NOT require an elaborate lab setup. There are many low cost testing techniques that can be effectively used to understand navigational problems. These techniques do not require costly lab set-up or monitoring equipment.

Lets look at the list of activities that common usability tests have, and see if they really require an elaborate setup.


  1. Participant Screener - No
  2. Participant Consent Form - No
  3. Participant Demographics - No


  1. Test of Self Evidence / Structure Evaluation - No
  2. Label Wording / Task Wording - No. In cases where the users may have to initiate a task among many tasks, you may require a computer.
  3. Card Sort - No
  4. Task Completion - No. For hi-fidelity prototypes, you will need a computer for simulation.
  5. Task Efficiency/Performance - YES an elaborate setup is needed.
  6. Test of Brand Values - No
  7. Test of Affordance - No

Post Test

  1. Comments - No
  2. Likert Scale Rating of usefulness, ease of use, learning, efficiency, and satisfaction - No

No comments: