The following are examples of methods for testing the usability of computer interfaces (adapted from "Usability Assessment Methods beyond Testing")
||Stage in Process
||Iterative design, formative evlauation, final testing
||Time consuming and expensive
||Competitive analysis, final testing
||Finds individual usability problems. Can address expert user issues.
||Does not involve real users, so does not find "suprises" relating to their needs.
||Hard numbers. Results are easy to compare
||Does not find individual usability problems.
||Iterative design, formative evaluation
||Pinpoints user misconseptions. Inexpensive
||Unnatural for users. Hard for expert users to verbalize.
||Task analysis, follow up studies
||Ecological validity; reveals users' real tasks. Suggests functions and features.
||Appointments hard to set up, No experimenter control
||Task analysis, follow-up studies
||Finds subjective user preferences. Easy to repeat
||Pilot work needed (to prevent misunderstandings).
||Flexible, in-depth attitude and experience probing.
||Time consuming. Hard to analyze and compare
||Task analysis, user involvement
||6-9 per group
||Spontaneous reactions and group dynamics.
||Hard to analyze. Low validity
|Logging actual product use
||Final testing, follow-up studies
||Finds highly used (or unused) features. Can run continuously.
||Analysis programs needed for huge mass of data. Violation of users' privacy
||Tracks changes in user requirements and views
||Organization needed to handle responses