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Expert Usability Review vs Usability Testing

One question we're often asked is actually which method will be best: usability testing or expert usability reviews? Well, if they were sports cars, expert usability reviews might be considered a Porsche (pretty decent car and better than no car at a lot of), but usability testing would end up being in a different league, namely Formula 1.

So, what'utes the difference?

- A good expert usability review is actually when a usability specialist inspects an internet site to identify potential usability difficulties

- Usability testing involves acquiring people coming from the audience to evaluate your site whilst performing tasks

These people're really equivalent in many ways in that both:

- Discover and prioritise usability difficulties

- Evaluate designs in the context of tasks

Do these people find the same problems?

The answer depends on how precisely you measure this specific, on balance no, not reliably. Most of the time, expert usability reviews tend to find high level breaches of design rules and consistency. Usability testing will be better at finding issues related to special domain knowledge and task flows.

If you were to hold out the expert usability review before conducting usability testing, and compare the two sets of findings, you can see exactly how the issues you found when compared with their real experiences. Did you find most the problems? Which options did you pass up? Which kinds that you simply thought might be issues transformed out not to always be? It will offer you a good feel for exactly how expert usability reviews keep up versus usability testing.

Often, expert reviews will:

- Ignore usability issues that arise during usability testing

- Come across some issues that usability testing didn'big t

- Report false alarms (i.electronic. not real issues)

Understanding that's the problem. It doesn't matter how good a good expert you are if you just count while on an expert usability review you'll discover different kinds of issues and overlook some potentially serious options.

Consider the case of a health website aimed specifically at fresh mums. The expert usability review found plenty of great issues, but might have overlooked the main killer one that brought on participants to pass comments like "That'utes just so insensitive!" and "I wouldn'testosterone use this website anymore". And a lot of because of your seemingly benign bit of banner advertising for a local gym placed next to a good content about busts giving. A reviewer would have difficulty predicting the indignant reaction of fresh mothers who felt the site had been rubbing their nostril in it. In the end there would become little potential for them going anyplace near a gym with a newborn.

Exactly how much overlap perhaps there is between expert usability reviews & usability testing?

Naturally, there is actually some overlap in the difficulties within both expert usability reviews and usability testing. Research handled by Fu, Salvendy and Turley in 2002 estimated this specific to become close to 41%. Not when high as you might expect. Interestingly, expert usability reviews tend to discover much more problems compared to usability testing. But it's leading over variety.

Expert usability reviews are good...

Expert usability reviews will be more common than usability testing just because that they're less expensive and quicker to carry out. Typically, it'll only take a number of times to inspect a site and write a report and because you don'testosterone need to use labs nor recruit consumers, charges are significantly more affordable. Due to this, they're often desired to usability testing, particularly when time and budget are squeezed.

There are nonetheless some pitfalls. For a start, a lot depends on the reviewer'utes level of experience. No two usability experts will discover exactly the same issues so the method will be in addition open to practitioner variation. The leading problem even so is just that they sometimes skip the real difficulties that cause consumers to fail tasks. This specific can be particularly accurate when the viewers seems to have a particular skill set. For instance, a good accountant may be better placed to diagnose particular forms of issues related to online accountancy tasks than a non-accountant reviewer.

...But usability testing will be da Daddy!

Usability testing takes more time to plan and organise and is actually more expensive too - recruiting and incentivising people coming from a potential audience could be costly. But it's definitely worth the effort! The results offer a truer picture in the real problems people encounter because that they're derived from real customers in the first place.

It's inconceivable how sites go live without checking to determine that they're actually usable. It'utes like building a vehicle but not test driving it. "Indeed, we've built it great website. Umm, well no, we've not checked to see if people can put it to use yet. But don'capital t worry because every single one the links function and the pages download quickly."

Another benefit of usability testing is actually that there'ersus much less conjecture and feedback comes straight through the horse'utes mouth. Videos of user sessions in particular, can offer a powerful persuasion tool for reluctant stakeholders. It'utes hard to argue with recordings of people in tears of frustration.

Use real surfers and accept no substitute!

Both expert usability reviews and usability testing have their time and place. In exercise, people often use expert usability reviews early onto straighten up their design in preparing for usability testing. (Indeed this is definitely critical for accessibility testing, since it's a waste of time to recruit and test consumers who can'big t even get into your site in the first place.)

Whilst an expert usability review is truly better than nothing, it'utes still vital to serve your website in front of people because early while it can be also, rather than leaving it way too late. Key elements these kinds of while site structure and navigation should end up being assessed with consumers at the first opportunity. Otherwise you risk having your internet site entirely overhauled at a late stage.

Ultimately, the main element should be to appreciate that expert usability reviews and usability testing are different beasts. The most efficient approach should be to try and integrate both techniques. Remember though, you must test your site with real surfers - accept no substitute!