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Overview: Usability testing: Take control of testing your product with users

Usability testing is the method of choice for organisations that want to understand how customers use their product, software or web site. In contrast to market research methods, usability testing delivers strong predictive value, demonstrating how real people will use the product in the real world.

But there are several different types of usability test, making it difficult for novices to choose a technique. Usability testing is also very different from interviews or focus groups and requires a well-trained test administrator. This workshop provides a practical path through the various methods, helping you pick the right kind of test for your product, showing you how to plan, carry out and analyse a usability test, and describing persuasive techniques for presenting the results to developers and managers. You will also get hands-on experience administering and observing a usability test and gain the kind of practical knowledge that you can’t get from reading a book.

After attending this usability testing training course, you will be able to confidently carry out a usability test of your company's product or web site. You'll run a usability test of your own web site and leave with a recording of the session that you can share with your design team. In addition to the course notes, we provide forms and templates you can adapt for your own usability tests.

“I will be showing the video to my IT director as it highlights a few potential issues with our site. The course has provided some ROI already.”
– Ed Hill, moonpig.com.

Printable pdf course description for this seminar

Suggested business case to convince your boss (MS Word format).

About your trainer

David Travis

This seminar is led by Dr. David Travis, the author of E-Commerce Usability. David has more than 20 years experience in the field of user centred design and has delivered over 100 seminars in usability for a range of private and public sector organisations. He has logged hundreds of hours in usability test sessions.

This usability testing training seminar is aimed at

  • Interface designers who want to experience hands-on techniques for testing and evaluating their designs with end users.
  • E-commerce developers who want to choose the right usability test for the current product lifecycle stage.
  • Project managers who want to manage the usability testing process.
  • Marketing managers who want to see samples of usability test reports, usability questionnaires, screeners and other deliverables from usability tests.
  • Business analysts who want to use performance-based testing to communicate the cost-benefits of the user experience.
  • Web site designers who want to learn the kind of practical knowledge that you can't get from reading a book.

By attending this usability testing course you will learn how to

  • Write a usability test plan to get buy-in from management and the development team
  • Recruit the right test participants
  • Develop test tasks that are relevant to your customers and your business.
  • Choose the right usability test method for your product and its lifecycle phase.
  • Distinguish between remote and lab-based tests, and between moderated and unmoderated usability tests.
  • Design usability tests that meet international standards in usability.
  • Moderate usability tests.
  • Collect and analyse behavioural data.
  • Persuade managers and developers to take action based on your test results.
  • Adapt our standard forms and templates for your own tests.

Seminar content

Introduction – Why test for usability?

  • Syndicate activity: Defining usability
  • BS-EN ISO 9241: The three elements of usability
  • Where usability testing fits in a user centred design process

What's so special about a usability test?

  • Problems with opinion-based research
  • Why usability tests can use small samples
  • Avoiding 'cargo cult' usability testing

Forming a Test Strategy

  • Checklist for planning a usability test
  • How to write a test plan
  • Writing a participant screener
  • Examples of routine forms used in usability tests
  • A taxonomy of usability tests: portable test lab, single room setup, classic testing lab setup, classic benchmark test and multi-room setup

Writing test tasks

  • Red routes and how to identify them
  • How to use the six-step scenario checklist to convert red routes to test scripts
  • Syndicate activity: create red routes and scenarios to test your own web site

How to moderate a "thinking aloud" usability test

  • The three roles you play as a test moderator
  • How to welcome participants
  • Techniques for getting participants to think aloud
  • Bias-free test moderation
  • How to classify behavioural observations
  • Software tools for usability testing
  • Syndicate activity: run a “thinking aloud” usability test of your own web site

Remote usability testing

  • How to save time and money with remote, moderated usability tests
  • How to run a benchmark usability test with hundreds of participants
  • When to use preference tests, 5-second tests, click tests and labeling tests
  • Why you should avoid remote, unmoderated "thinking aloud" tests

How to analyse the data from usability tests

  • What is a "usability issue"?
  • Using the Binomial Confidence Interval and z-scores to account for variation
  • Measuring satisfaction with the SUS survey and the Microsoft Desirability Toolkit
  • Using test data to calculate the costs and benefits of usability fixes

Reporting Results

  • The rules of good feedback
  • How to engage the design team with usability data
  • How to use your results to influence managers

Summary and Wrap-Up

  • Brief review of the key topics.
  • Final opportunity for questions.

What delegates say about this course

  • “Hands down the most useful (and usable) training I've had.” – Duncan Barrett, Mobile Interactive Group.
  • “A very good course, reassuring with valuable new insights.” – Ben Stokes, KCI Medical.
  • “I now realise that what we've been calling "usability testing" only scratches the surface of true usability testing. I'm looking forward to trying out some new techniques!” – Peter Dearden, Vertex.
  • “I really enjoyed the hands-on testing in small groups and finding out how to formally carry out structured tests.” – Kellie Chandler, Interoute.
  • “David's excellent delivery made a technical subject that much more understandable.” – Timothy Cox, Alcatel.
  • “Very worthwhile. I learnt several new techniques that I can apply immediately in my job.” – Tom Taylor, Euroffice.
  • “It was great to expand my knowledge and pick up new 'tips and tricks'.” – Rebecca Trounson, hotonline.com.
  • “Very good materials. Excellent delivery.” – Jon Wyatt, Espresso Education.
  • "This course is excellent in providing you with a toolkit for usability testing. I've learnt things that I will really use." – Helen Towers, Kudos Information Systems.

Free refresher training

Our usability training continues after you leave the seminar. People that attend this seminar are eligible for free refresher training. After the seminar, we'll send you a series of follow up articles highlighting different aspects of the training, specifically written to help you apply what you learnt. See an example lesson.

What do I get when I book this course?

  • 2 day training course with a usability expert.
  • Practical checklists, worksheets and extensive notes to take home.
  • An electronic copy of the Usability Test Plan Toolkit.
  • A video recording of a usability test of your web site to share with the development team.
  • Free, follow-up refresher training.
  • A proper, air-conditioned learning environment.
  • Lunch and refreshments throughout both days.

More details on what you get.


This usability testing course lasts two days.

How do I book?

Please contact us to make a booking.

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Upcoming courses

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