What Are The Main Usability Testing Methods?

In an industry focused on creating great experiences for people who use products and services, usability testing is a vital part of the process. This process aims to inform the design process of a product or service.

Over the years, every usability testing company and researcher has developed many techniques for validating and testing the hypothesis and design decisions of products. There are a variety of methods that are commonly used in these studies. In this article, we will discuss some different methods ideal for conducting usability tests.

What You Should do Before Conducting Usability Testing

Having a clear understanding of your audience and the necessary resources and time will enable you to make an informed judgment when it comes to testing.

In addition, this section will help you choose the right testing method for your test. It will also help you adjust the tasks and questions for your test participants. You can additionally add other usability testing methods to your test plan.

Lab Usability Testing

The term lab usability testing refers to a type of testing that is conducted in special environments. It is usually supervised by a professional. During a moderated test, the objective is to gather feedback from the users in real time. The test’s participants are also provided with a variety of tasks and answers to their questions.

Goals of Lab Usability Testing

  • A lab usability test aims to gather detailed information about how users interact with your product. This will allow you to identify the factors that influence their behavior. 
  • In addition to being able to analyze the data, this type of testing also allows you to collect qualitative information.

Guerilla Usability Testing

Guerilla testing is a relatively simple way to test a user’s perception of a product or service. It implicates going to a public place, such as a coffee shop, and asking people about their prototype. The goal of the test is to get quick feedback in exchange for a small gift. This type of testing is also cheap and easy to implement.

Guerilla testing is ideal during the early stages of a product’s development. It allows you to:

  • Gather information about a concept and its potential to improve a product
  • Help you identify areas of improvement and develop a strategy to improve a product

Note that one of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to guerilla testing is the type of design that you have.

Phone Interview Usability Testing

A phone interview is a remote usability test involving a facilitator asking participants to complete a series of tasks on their device. Feedback is then collected automatically.

Telephone interviews are also a great way to collect feedback from people who are scattered across different parts of the world.

This type of testing is usually conducted with a trained and experienced facilitator. Aside from being able to interact with the participants, the candidate should also have good communication skills.

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Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing

Remote usability testing is conducted without a moderator. It can be used to perform quick and robust analysis without the need for a lot of knowledge about the program.

Participants of unmoderated tests are asked to complete the tasks in their own environment and without the presence of a monitor. This method is cheaper than regular testing. However, it doesn’t provide the detailed results that are usually available in more detailed tests.

When do you need this type of testing?

When you need to test a particular hypothesis in a large sample, unmoderated remote usability testing is the best strategy. This method allows you to test a large number of people without having to go through the process of moderating. It can also help you observe the behavior patterns of users.

The Contextual Inquiry Test

A contextual inquiry is a type of testing that focuses on the users’ experience with a product. It is similar to an interview or an observation method that aims to gather information about the users’ experience. During the test, the participants are asked to provide a set of questions about the product.

When this testing is very useful?

This method is useful for gathering user information, such as:

  • their habits
  • preferences
  • workspace

It can help the design team create a well-designed experience. However, it can also be used for shipped products. After seeing the product in action, you can easily prioritize the usability issues most likely affect the users.


It can be challenging to choose the right software testing method for your product due to the variety of options. However, don’t worry, as every UX (User Experience) specialist has the same issue. It’s important to consider the method that will work best for your project and its goals. Before you start testing, ensure the testing method is aligned with your objectives and resources.

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