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Why Do Usability Testing?

Usability testing is an important component of software testing, a fact that has become more and more valid with the explosive growth of the Internet.  Websites require ease-of-use; otherwise visitors will bail out and go elsewhere.  And it is this reality that is really at the core of usability testing in the 21st century.  Generally speaking, here are the key reasons why usability testing is critical for organizations to conduct in this day and age.

First and most obvious, usability testing helps improve the design of the product or site being tested.  Whenever usability tests are conducted, they seek to measure the degree to which the target market finds the product or application useful and valuable, the ease with which the product’s usage can be learned, and the degree to which users “like” the product.  The process helps identify design deficiencies like dead ends and usage loops, the elimination of which will improve the product’s desirability and ease of use.

Usability testing also helps eliminate future design problems.  In fact, this is a core philosophy of the ISEB Foundation / ISTQB Foundation (CTFL) certification.  Specifically, the issues found during usability testing can be captured in design databases, and then used to improve design processes and methodologies of future products and applications.  The ancillary effect of this is that the company’s reputation will be improved because customers will hopefully know that the company delivers only high-quality products and that customer needs are actually valued and incorporated into product designs.   

Finally, by deploying better products as a result of usability testing, profitability should increase over the long run.  First, customer service calls and issues will be reduced, thereby reducing service related expenses.  Second, revenue should grow because future sales from current customers will increase.  All in all, usability testing is good for companies and as such is a wise investment of testing resources.


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