We can apply various usability testing techniques to test form prototypes, existing forms, online applications, web forms or any other information products.
Whether you are in the process of creating a brand new form design or have an existing product, we can help you achieve the results you want.
There are many techniques for testing the usability of forms. Depending on a client’s requirements, budget and business processes, we can recommend the most appropriate testing.
Expert reviews are conducted to identify major problems in a product before users review it and before the product is implemented. A usability professional inspects the product and identifies potential problems that are covered by their field of expertise.
An expert review is a relatively easy way to find potential problems with a form. While it doesn’t address the order or magnitude of the problems, it can be used to validate that design objectives have been met.
Often one of the first steps in forms analysis is to conduct an error analysis on the existing forms. This provides a benchmark upon which to measure the effectiveness of future designs and helps to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.
Error analysis will not show why mistakes are made. Instead, it highlights what types of errors are made and how often.
This method of usability testing can be used with either mock-ups (such as paper prototypes) or a draft of the completed product. Walkthroughs can be used for an entirely new product or with just the part of a product that may have been changed.
A walkthrough is a fast, flexible and efficient means of gathering user feedback about the effectiveness of a design. They are fairly informal and relatively easy to set up. They can be conducted with users as the primary participant or with the product designers, staff or other participants. The walkthrough provides subjective data rather than objective data. The results take the form of comments about what appears to be working and what isn’t rather than what actually should happen.
Usability walkthroughs can be used to provide early feedback on an initial form design or redesign, or when a product is amended so that its original purpose is changed dramatically.
A focus group is an informal assembly of users whose opinions are requested about a specific topic. The goal is to elicit perceptions, feelings, attitudes, and participants’ ideas about the topic.
Individuals come together and express diverse views on the topic. Focus group testing is useful not only to find the range of views, but also for the participants to learn from each other, and to generate a sense of social cohesion.
Observational studies are the studies of real users carrying out real tasks. They are the most accurate way to collect data on user perceptions of a form or document and how well it functions against predetermined tasks. The goal of an observational study is not to achieve a perfect score but to uncover potential trouble spots in the form, preferably at an early stage in development so they can be remedied prior to release.
Observational studies have two major strengths. They are accurate as they simulate the actual completion of the form and they are convincing as the data that is collected is reflective of the entire user experience.
They can be cost effective, timely and undertaken in various work and home environments.
For information about the most appropriate type of usability testing for your documents or project,
contact Perform on 02 6162 0618.