Usability testing

david at david at
Sun Apr 13 22:44:02 EDT 2008

On Sun, 13 Apr 2008, Patrick Dubroy wrote:

> On Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 3:08 PM, Greg Smith (gregmsmi)
> <gregmsmi at> wrote:
>> Hi Tomeuz et al,
>>  I have done a few usability tests and they are a lot of work and not
>>  easy to turn in to code later.
> Many people seem to believe this myth that usability tests are too
> much work. But as Jakob Nielsen says:
> "Some people think that usability is very costly and complex and that
> user tests should be reserved for the rare web design project with a
> huge budget and a lavish time schedule. Not true. Elaborate usability
> tests are a waste of resources. The best results come from testing no
> more than 5 users and running as many small tests as you can afford."
> (The whole article is worth a read. "Why You Only Need to Test With 5
> Users":

true, but remember that as users are exposed to the product they stop 
beign as good test subjects to represent newbes (those who remember 
heathkit remember how good their instructions were, they couldn't use a 
person for more then a handful of times before that person stoped being 
baluble as a beginning level tester)

David Lang

>> [snip]
>>  The report by Carol's daughter: (see
>>  _ideas_and_blogs South Bronx Teacher Feedback link).
>>  One key idea there is that kids wont wait for an activity to load. The
>>  activity icon blinks but the kids didn't get that. Maybe an animated GIF
>>  or a mini-animation would help. Or maybe paint the activity window right
>>  away, then fill it in slowly. Downside of that is you are tied to
>>  activity even if it never loads. Two ideas but we need more user
>>  feedback that its important issue before I would suggest it's a
>>  development priority.
> And that is a perfect example of how informal usability testing can be
> done without too much work. I'd love to see more reports "from the
> field" like Robin's.
> Pat
> --
> Patrick Dubroy
> - on programming, usability, and hci
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