Usability Testing Toolkit for IEEE Web Publishers

This section is designed to provide guidance about managing usability testing projects for IEEE websites. This section covers various steps involved in usability testing, including:

  • planning a usability testing project;
  • vendor selection guidelines;
  • recruiting and working with users.

This toolkit also serves as a supporting reference for the IEEE Digital Style Guide.

What Is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is a research method used to evaluate the ease of use, navigation, and intuitiveness of a website from the user's perspective by observing the user while the user directly interacts with the website. During usability testing, users provide feedback about what they like, dislike, or find difficult to understand about the website being tested. Usability testing involves recruiting a sample set of representative website users, asking them to complete a series of short tasks on a prototype or live website, and asking them to share their observations with a test facilitator. Testing methods range from live, on-site testing of functional applications with actual users, to remote testing of prototype documents with surrogate users. A usability testing project could use one or a mix of more than one method to test different users. In a user-centric design approach, these observations are analyzed alongside other data points such as web analytics or primary user research, to determine and prioritize needed website enhancements.

Benefits Of Usability Testing

Usability testing of a website provides valuable information that can be used to make highly effective modifications to websites. The quantifiable savings that can be achieved through early and continued usability testing include:

  • increase in user task completion rate;
  • decrease in user training requirements;
  • decrease in complaint calls or requests for technical support;
  • decrease in user error rate;
  • decrease in programming costs associated with post-launch updates.

Non-quantifiable savings that can be achieved through early and continued usability testing include:

  • increase in user satisfaction;
  • increased potential for higher user engagement in IEEE activities;
  • reduction in end user frustration, leading to improved user acceptance of the website;
  • having a website that users can easily use.

Resources Within The Usability Testing Toolkit

Reference these useful resources for managing your usability testing project: