Usability Test

The usability test originated in software development and is now increasingly used in design thinking. In this test, the usability of software or hardware is tested by potential users.

Best used for

Testing hypotheses

Time to introduce this activity in lecture / Time to run this activity

15 – 30 min / several days

In the context of Digital Social Impact courses and learning activities

With a potential prototype the students can test their solution in a usability test with previously defined hyptheses

Main Target Group


Potential tools for digitising this activity

Depends on product

Step by Step

1 Preparation phase: Create a concept describing what you intend to do, what it is about, what your goal is, what you want to find out and what your test object is, e.g. website, app, product.

2 Furthermore, you should determine the location where the test will be conducted. Should it be done remotely or in person? (See the setup on the right for a remote execution.) Define the different roles needed, e.g. test leader, observer, etc.

3 Recruit the test subjects. In order to detect at least 85% of the defects of a prototype, at least 5 test persons should be recruited. They should be similar to the user. Define exact test scenarios. Which tasks should the test persons perform on the prototype? As many different use cases as possible should be tested. Make sure that you have all the necessary materials for the application test. It is best to conduct a pilot test with another project manager.

4 Implementation phase: In this phase you start with the welcome of the test person. Explain the process and the tasks of the test scenarios to the test person. Then carry out the tests. While the probands are performing the test, have them share their thoughts. This method is called the think-aloud method. In parallel, the observers should accurately document the performance.

5 Follow-up phase: Evaluate the documentation and findings (video, audio and notes) and present the results to the team. Use these results to optimize the user-friendliness of the website, product, or app.