Usability testing

Usability testing- You can have a solution that meets all the features and functions asked for by the client that is still difficult to use and difficult to learn. Many of the features of usability do not come directly from the business requirements.

You may get usability input from the clients in the Analysis Phase if you create a Conceptual Systems Design. Otherwise your Designers should make usability decisions in the Design Phase.

While most project teams do not include human factors experts, there are many common sense techniques to ensure that a system is easy to navigate and easy to understand.

A separate usability test can be designed as a part of the system test to validate that the end users understand and use the system to its fullest.
In general, you do not want IT people to perform the usability tests.

The users, or people who have not seen the application, are the best people to use. Since this is a subjective test, you may choose to have the users utilize the solution and provide their opinion on usability through a survey.

During the usability test, users should access the system and carry out scenarios that mirror their normal jobs. Then, using a one through five scale, you can survey them to see how satisfied they were in the following areas:

  • Ease of navigation from screen to screen.

  • Ability to spot necessary navigation boxes and buttons.

  • Overall complexity of the screens.

  • The color schemes used on the screens.

  • Error messages and the ability to understand what was required to correct errors.

  • Availability and clarity of online help.

  • Sharpness of graphics, charts and graphs.

  • Consistency between different screen sizes, browsers and other hardware types.

  • Consistency of grammar and syntax. For instance, if you place a period at the end of some items in a bulleted list, they all should have the period. (Or else they all should not.)

  • Consistency of fonts, font sizes, font color, etc.

As you can see, usability is mostly an online concern, but you can perform usability surveys for batch reports as well. These and other questions can help determine if the application is usable or not.

If survey questions are rated low, ask for specific examples of screens and reports that the users did not like. Performing usability testing and correcting poorly designed screens and reports can go a long way toward ensuring the application will be successfully adopted by the clients when it is implemented.

Use cases

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