Usability Testing Examples: 3 Case Studies You Can Learn From
Usability testing is important for every company that develops digital or physical products. So we've put together three usability testing examples that will spark ideas for your own research.
According to Kinsta, “Usability testing is an absolute must-have for any business with an online presence, but it’s a broad field. The three metrics generally agreed upon for usability testing are satisfaction, efficiency, and effectiveness.”
If a product is difficult to use, then customers are unlikely to come back. Usability testing helps you identify and fix usability problems, resulting in satisfied customers and better customer retention.
Having real users test your products also helps you establish how effective a product is. In other words, you get to see whether users are able to achieve their goals with minimal friction throughout the journey.
That’s why at Teston we encourage businesses to come up with realistic tasks and scenarios for users so each business can judge their customers' level of success with the product. After all, the purpose of usability testing is to improve the overall experience and ease of use based on legitimate user research.
The following case studies demonstrate how to perform user research based on realistic tasks. And looking at these real world examples will help you come up with tasks you can use in your own user studies.
Real-World Usability Testing Examples
Usability testing is suitable for a range of digital products, including websites and apps. It’s not only useful for testing finished products, but also for testing products in the development stage.
Prototype testing can save you from encountering problems later on. That’s why we’ve gathered examples of website, app, and prototype testing to inspire you.
Website Usability Testing Examples
Website usability testing is extremely valuable for assessing aspects of performance, such as navigation, user flows, and speed.
In one case study, web developers at Digital Loom implemented usability testing on a website redesign for their client, the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). Their testing sessions uncovered technical issues they otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.
In particular, they discovered that a complicated information architecture hampered users' ability to find what they were looking for. Then they knew they needed to simplify navigation.
By getting users to complete set tasks on the site, Digital Loom managed to make a number of positive changes to their design. You can do the same by coming up with realistic task scenarios for your own user tests.
Here are some user testing examples for tasks you can use.
Browse and Complete an Action
You need to test the ability of the user to carry out their own research on your site. Let’s say you have an e-commerce site. Real life users will likely browse and compare products before making a purchase. Your task should, therefore, reflect the real user journey.
For instance, you might instruct test participants to “Buy a dress for under €100”. Naturally, as part of the test, they’ll have to navigate your e-commerce site to find an item that meets the description and complete the checkout process.
Find the Right Information
Prior to user testing, you should list things you’d like users to be able to accomplish easily on your site.
It’s not always about making a purchase. If you have a B2B company or sell tech products, the user journey will no doubt include finding appropriate information long before users get to the buying stage.
If we were user testing the Teston site, for example, we might set a task such as, “Find out how to access your test results.” Then we would see if users could quickly and easily navigate to our FAQs and find the relevant help article from there.
Still struggling for ideas? Teston has a number of task scenario templates you can take inspiration from.
Mobile App Usability Testing Examples
There are almost 2.5 million Google Play apps and almost 2 million Apple App Store apps. But in such a saturated market, at least half of them have got to be pure rubbish, right?
The difference between a leading app and a rubbish app is usability. Poorly designed apps might be riddled with annoying ads, have bugs, or simply not be made with the user in mind.
Sometimes there are several similar apps in the same space. They might all be made by descent companies or startups, yet those that top the leaderboard are the easiest to use across the entire customer journey.
One web designer decided to carry out a guerilla-style usability study on an app in a popular niche, food delivery. She utilised user testing to discover the pain points of test participants when using the Caviar delivery app.
Through usability testing, she was able to establish user frustrations and figure out features that would make the user journey easier and quicker.
This is particularly important if you consider user personas for this type of mobile app. They might be somebody who works hard and doesn’t have time to prepare a meal. Or they might just be somebody who doesn’t want to put in any effort. Either way, ease of use is extremely important in this case.
Here’s an example of how to user test your mobile app.
Test the Journey From A to B
As in the above case study, it would be useful to establish which features are most helpful to the customer journey, which features might be missing, and what could improve the user experience.
To do this, monitor and analyse the interactions of users as they complete tasks. This could be carried out using video recordings like we do at Teston.
With Teston you also have the option of setting questions for the user to answer as they record themselves completing a task. You may wish to include questions like, “What caused the most frustration while completing this task?” and “What did you like most about using this app?”
One of the main reasons people use apps is to make their lives easier. So it makes sense to do your utmost to provide a simple user interface that performs well and is easy to use.
Prototype Usability Testing Examples
Prototype testing is an integral part of the product development process. It allows you to test early iterations of your product and make the right improvements before launching.
When the Nielsen Norman Group redesigned their homepage, they first tested low-fidelity wireframes on real users. They gathered feedback before moving on to high-fidelity visual prototypes. They learned something about the UX of their homepage at each step of the process.
The insights they gained centred on visual design elements such as the use of imagery. They also discovered what would be the best way to format their homepage for users.
Overall, the Nielsen Norman Group found that testing prototypes took away the pressure of getting the perfect design right off the bat. The series of user tests helped them make improvements as they went along, until they had the optimal user-centred design.
Here are some user testing examples that work particularly well for prototypes.
I Like, I Wish, What If
This user testing technique elicits positive feedback, critiques, and creative ideas from users. To use this technique, encourage users to share statements starting with "I like", "I wish", or "What if" at each round of prototype testing.
Feedback Capture Grid
This is another way to organise user feedback. Have users provide feedback in four categories, "Likes", "Criticisms", "Questions", and "Ideas". The responses you get during this type of test help you discover issues raised during the user test.
Try These Informative Usability Testing Examples Yourself
Usability testing has many benefits no matter what stage you're in with your product development. Even if your product is already established, it’s still possible to find areas that need fixing or improving.
If you don’t know where to start, you can mimic others who have already executed successful usability tests. And the case studies above are brilliant examples for user testing websites, mobile apps, and prototypes.
Now it’s up to you to start the user testing process. The first step is to establish the goals of your user test so you can figure out which type of usability test makes the most sense for your brand. Then test and improve your product.