Watching individual users perform typical tasks with your product helps uncover areas you can improve in the next product release. By continuing usability testing throughout the design process, you can collect user feedback leading to ongoing refinements—and ultimately validate and measure the improvements since the last test.
Heuristic – Expert Evaluation
A complementary method, heuristic evaluation, also known as expert evaluation, relies on usability experts rather than target users. These experts identify problems in your user interface or new designs based on industry standards, best practices, and deep experience. Expert evaluation is useful for recognizing and eliminating major problems before usability testing.
Usability testing takes place under controlled conditions in the lab, in users’ homes or workplaces, or over the Internet. Sessions over the Internet may be unmoderated to accommodate more participants.
Usability testing involves actual target users and matches real-world experiences, but requires resources for participant recruiting. Although expert evaluations identify usability problems quickly, usability experts are surrogates and cannot have the same experiences as actual users. Effective user-centered design combines the methods, applying them at different points in the design process.
If you need help determining which methods and services will best suit your needs, please contact TecEd at firstname.lastname@example.org.