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Usability Testing

At Mediabarn Research Services, usability testing is our specialty.

Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a product by testing it on its users. It allows you to observe real people use your product in real time to determine whether or not they can reach the desired end goal.

  • How easy is it for a customer to purchase a product online?
  • How long does it take for them to complete a task?
  • Is it intuitive to how users think?

These are just a few of the questions usability testing can answer.

Whether it is a website, software, a mobile application, or user-operated device, Mediabarn believes that usability testing brings great value to the development of any product. It can help you to better understand your user, identify hazards and hang-ups, and see your product in a whole new light.

User experience testing:

  • Shows how your users learn and operate your product
  • Demonstrates whether or not they can achieve the desired end goal
  • Gauges their emotional response and how satisfied they are with the product

What types of products can be tested?
If you can think it, we can find a way to test it! We have the ability to test:

  • Fully functional websites, software applications, mobile applications and devices
  • Clickable prototypes
  • Limited functionality wireframes, screen shots, and mock-ups
  • Product concepts prior to development

How does usability testing work?

  • We work with you to understand your research objectives
  • We determine the tasks users will be asked to complete
  • Respondents come to the User Experience Lab
  • We make them comfortable and give them the tasks to complete
  • Each session is digitally recorded
    • Both with what the users see on the screen AND
    • A picture-in-picture view of the respondents’ expressions
  • We post the recordings to our secure video sharing website
    • So our clients can review them at their leisure
  • Usability sessions typically last 30-60 minutes each

How many users are included in one study?
Most of the work we do is considered qualitative in nature.

That means that, by talking with a small sample of study respondents (usually 8 to 12 people), we can uncover a high quantity of user issues (the vast majority of the problems users are likely to encounter). See our Blog post on study sample size for more information.

The sample sizes will vary based on the type of research conducted and the answers we’re trying to uncover. Most importantly, we aim to talk with people who are in your target market – people who fit the profile of your actual users.

How long does usability testing take?
From the time clients contact us with a research need until the time they have the findings and recommendations, typical usability studies take 4-6 weeks.

Here's how it breaks down:

  • Depending on the difficulty of the objectives and the ease of finding appropriate respondents, most studies take more or less than 3 weeks to:
    • Define the scope of the project
    • Develop test materials
    • Recruit respondents
  • Talking with respondents and gathering data can usually be accomplished in just 1-3 days
    • If your team observes the sessions as they happen, you can begin to make decisions based on the test findings right away
  • We usually take 1-2 weeks to:
    • Write up study results
    • Develop recommendations
    • Supplement the report with user quotes and video clips

How much does usability testing cost?
A typical usability study costs between $12,000 and $18,000. That includes:

  • Research design
  • Creation of recruiting screener and moderator's guide
  • Our facility rental cost (both lab and observation room)
  • Moderating 8-12 interview sessions
  • Digital data capture
  • Recruiting and paying respondents
  • A comprehensive written report complete with recommendations, user quotes and highlighted video clips

Remote User Testing

Need to get your product in front of customers in a diverse range of geographic locations? Remote usability testing allows you to go where your customers are, while eliminating the time and cost of travel. Efficient and affordable, these remote tests work in a similar way to their traditional counterparts, except they connect moderator, participants and observers using the Web. Mediabarn has experience running multi-platform tests remotely both nationally and internationally.

Mobile Device & Touch Screen Testing

Usability testing can apply to any type of user experience. With mobile and touch devices becoming more pervasive, Mediabarn has developed techniques to conduct usability testing for mobile apps and mobile-optimized sites in addition to tests for other touch devices. We've tested mobile sites on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices, as well as apps for iPhone, iPad, and PSP, with a variety of user groups - including children as young as 2 years old. Our comfortable lab environment allows users to hold the devices normally while we capture their expressions and their screenview.

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