Being Agile about doing Usability Studies!


This discussion about agile & usability testing could go in many directions.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there about mixing agile & usability in a discussion. But our research has shown that there are a lot of myths out there about usability studies & usability testing in general.

In fact, there is a whole website & twitter feed out there dedicated to the topic of talking about those myths in great detail.

Our favorite myth is that Usability Testing has to be expensive!

That myth is generally thought to be manifested in several objections we have seen:

  • that takes a long time to conduct tests (impacting my schedules),
  • lots of resources are required (got to invest a lot in applications, labs & equipment) &
  • they are very expensive.

All are false & there are many examples of people who have approached it in a DIY approach. But DIY takes a while to get rolling because of the research required to pull it all together with so many options.

Depending on the size of the application or website, the way it is developed (agile & iterative vs waterfall for example!) the process can be streamlined & integrated into a development process very effectively.

The cost can be greatly reduced these days because of the power of some of the tools that are available.

We have experience in delivering our process with the best set of tools that meet the needs & environment, matching the requirements of a particular project perfectly.

The discussion about building capability inside an organization or outsourcing the usability testing to a 3rd party brings another level of agility into the mix.

Ask yourself a couple of questions to spur your thoughts:

  • Do you have the time to develop the skills?
  • Are internal eyes the best eyes on the user to deliver the most unbiased & effective recommendations?

But the essence of this discussion centers on how effective, responsive & rapid can the results be delivered, producing actionable, useful & usable recommendations that affect the bottom line.

That’s our specialty – getting the results you need to justify bringing Usability Testing into your organization!

So ROI comes into play.

Depending on whom this discussion is with in an organization, the issues & concerns are different.

So we like to talk to the individual in an organization who can influence, affect or make the decision about whether there should be further inquiry & consideration by that organization about implementing, testing, trialing or just out-right doing a usability testing project.

What should be first on the agenda in any given organization depends on the understanding of value & benefit of usability testing & determining where in the organization the process should be prototyped or just done!

Check out our Services page – engage us to do an assessment of your needs or just send us a quick note with a question relative to your specific situation & we’ll be happy to share our experience & understanding.

If you need a Usability Testing project done or want to figure out the best way to integrate them into your current processes we are here – we can even develop a Repeatable Process & educate your staff if that’s the best approach for you.

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