Usability testing is used to evaluate the user-friendliness feature of a software application or a website, so as to ensure the user's easiness in operating the website or the application, without any interaction issues.
Generally, there are five different types of usability testing, which may be performed over a software application or a website, namely Remote Usability Testing, Hallway Testing, Expert Review, Automate Expert Review, A/B Testing.
However, Usability tests are also of five types, to address each different issues & purposes. Let's go through each of these usability tests.
This type of usability test is a type of discovery study, which is usually considered, to discover the problems and issues, associated with the usability feature of a product so as to fix or correct it, as soon as it is detected.
The basic idea behind the problem discovery is that a small group of people may perform pragmatic activities, to reveal any sort of bugs or defect, in a real time environment. Problem discovery may be seen as a formative study, where a small group of people uses a system and performs multiple tasks over it. A professional as a moderator, is being deployed, to facilitate this study process. A moderator monitors and studies the pattern of work, being performed, and explores out the potential usability issues.
Benchmark is used to compare one state or result against the other established state or result. In software engineering, problems that were found in the product or in its design have been corrected or fixed by bringing changes, thereby creating new design or a product from the existing one. The old unmodified design may be set as a benchmark, to measure the degree of changes implement in the product.
May be termed as a summative study, benchmark study, is usually carried out to study the impact of changes, brought to the user interface features of a product and subsequently, measuring the usability feature against, what was benchmarked. Benchmark study, involves the gathering of the data, on monthly or annual basis, to assess the degree impact, due to changes introduced & implemented, over the reporting time period.
Although, usability features are compared to those of benchmarked, still the usability traits of a product or a website, needs to be compared with their counterpart product/website. Resources, which were engaged in testing the usability traits of the website, by perform certain specific actions, may be deployed on the counterpart website, to perform same sequence of events, in order to assess its usability. Thus, a website could be compared to its counterpart, so as to measure its degree of usability.
It makes use of the technology, to assess, where a particular user or visitor, is staring on the website, how much time is he/she spending on a particular section or a page, which section or a page is left out from his/her vision. The technology focuses, study and analyzes the user's eye pupil, to determine the users intention, needs, to each different section of a page. This usability data, is generally, generated by this technology, in the form of heat maps.
It may be seen as the degree of easiness, to adapt, understand and learn about a software product. Most of the time, learnability is related with the easiness of understanding and using a product, at first time, only. However, it is a common fact that the customers/ users gets trained in understanding and operating a product, by making use of it, over a period of time. Therefore, in the usability study of learnability aspect, both the first time use and getting trained, over a period of time, may be considered.