Guide to Usability Testing in UX Design

Updated on March 23, 2023

What is Usability testing?


Only believe their product can have a flaw once or unless a user confirms it. The usability test is precisely that process. It directly involves the end users to improve the overall experience and the product.  

What is usability testing?

The category of non-functional software testing is usability testing. Usability testing is often carried out from the end user’s perspective to determine whether or not the system operates well. It is primarily used in user-centered interaction design to evaluate a software product’s usability or ease of use. Since usability testing is a thorough process, its execution calls for knowledge about the program.

Difference between user testing vs. usability test 

User testing

Usability testing follows user testing. User testing aims to learn the target audience’s needs for the product, tool, or service in issue. Marketers can put it to use to gauge the satisfaction of their intended demographic. The developers and marketers both can benefit from user testing.

Usability testing

Wireframing and high-fidelity prototyping allow usability testing at any point in the design process. Every new version of a product should also be put through usability testing. The purpose is to check if the product, tool, or service is being used effectively by its intended audience and if its users can accomplish their desired results.

Benefits of usability test

Verify the accuracy of the prototype

Include users in the design process from the beginning. Their feedback should be used to refine the product. Before spending much money on building a complete website, testing a prototype confirms your concept and helps to prepare for future capabilities.

Check the quality of the product in a real scenario

Once development is complete, the last round of usability testing is necessary to ensure that the final product performs as expected. 

Fix problems caused by intricate flows

Conduct usability testing on multi-step procedures to ensure they are as accessible and feasible for the target audience.

Add context and shed light on more information.

User observation during usability testing frequently sheds light on the reasoning behind numbers gleaned from other sources, such as a heat map showing that visitors need to pay attention to a critical section of the homepage.

Recognize minute errors

Usability testing helps spot both big and small usability problems. A fresh pair of eyes is better able to see typos, grammatical faults, and other issues that have been overlooked. These little mistakes add together to make a site look less credible and professional.

More satisfied customer

Offer a more satisfying service for the user. Providing a satisfying experience for the product’s target audience is crucial to its success. By conducting usability tests, you may find problems that might otherwise go undetected and make your product as user-friendly as possible.

Types of usability tests

Guerilla Usability Testing

It enables you to solicit feedback on the quality of the user experience from people who have never used your product or visited your website, such as random passers-by.

Remote Usability Testing 

The primary benefit of remote/unmoderated usability testing is that it allows you to spend less time recruiting and more time researching by using third-party tools to acquire target people for your study. The program may capture video and audio of your user performing activities, allowing users to engage with your interface independently and in their natural context.

Moderator Usability Testing

Two primary benefits of using a moderator for usability testing: first, you can ask participants to clarify their comments if you don’t understand them, which isn’t possible in an unmoderated usability study; and second, you can get a better sense of the participant’s experience with the product. If your users need to grasp the directions you’ve given them immediately, you’ll still be able to explain the process to them and keep them on track.

How to conduct a usability test?

1. Choose a product or website feature to test.

Do you have questions regarding how your users will interact with a given interaction or workflow? Or do you worry about what consumers will do on your product page? Create a research hypothesis by listing your product’s merits, drawbacks, and improvement areas.

2. Choose your assignments.

Your participants’ tasks should represent your users’ most specific goals, such as making a purchase.

3. Define success.

You have specified particular success criteria for each assignment once you know what and how to test. Setting a success and failure criterion for each job allows you to assess your product’s intuitiveness.

4. Plan and write your research.

At the beginning of your script, mention the study’s aim, if you’ll be recording, background on the product or website, questions to assess participants’ knowledge, and their tasks. Moderators should follow the same script for consistency, objectivity, and science in each user session.

5. Delegate roles.

The moderator must stay unbiased and guide participants through the activities while following the script. Your moderator should remain impartial, resist social pressure, and make participants comfortable while pushing them to accomplish tasks. Note-taking is also vital. The study’s most attentive listener should take notes. You can only test your idea with documented data.

6. Find participants.

Usability testing is complex because of screening and recruiting. Usability experts recommend testing five individuals in each research, but they should closely mirror your user base. With a limited sample size, it’s challenging to reproduce your user base.

7. Conduct the Study.

You want to test how quickly users learn your UI. During the research, participants should perform one activity at a time without aid. Only give instructions if a participant asks.

8. Analyze data

Your study will yield lots of qualitative data. Analyzing it will help you find problem patterns, assess usability issues, and make design ideas for the technical team. When analyzing data, consider both user performance and product sentiment. It’s common for participants to reach their goal swiftly but dislike the outcome.

9. Report results.

After pulling insights from your data, describe the significant takeaways and set out the next steps for enhancing your product or website’s design.


The only problem with usability testing is the cost of acquiring and managing the resources. But using digital experience monitoring tools will help you to overcome that. A tool like HeadSpin has AI-based testing insights. Using this understanding, you can build an app that outsmarts your competitors and surpass your customers’ expectations.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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