What is Usability Testing

Usability Testing is a type of testing done from an end user’s perspective to determine if the system is easily usable or not.

Usability Testing


ISTQB’s Definition : Testing to determine the extent to which the software product is understood, easy to learn, easy to operate and attractive to the users under specified conditions.

Usability Testing is normally performed during System Testing and Acceptance Testing levels.

Usability testing includes the following five components:

  1. Learnability : How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
  2. Efficiency : How fast can experienced users accomplish tasks?
  3. Memorability : When users return to the design after a period of not using it, does the user remember enough to use it effectively the next time, or does the user have to start over again learning everything?
  4. Errors : How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors and how easily can they recover from the errors?
  5. Satisfaction : How much does the user like using the system?


Why is usability testing performed?

The Web and mobile applications rule the business world in recent times. These apps being efficient, effective, easy, simple, appealing, engaging etc. is very critical for them to be embraced by  the customers. Usability testing is all about determining if a site is what the user would want to use and come back to or not.

This not only applies to software systems. Any machine/interface that has a human interaction has got to satisfy these rules.  How do you ask? Democracy would suffer if the voting machines were not usable.  I wouldn’t vote if I had to click more than one button to choose my candidate, would you? Exactly!

How is usability Testing conducted?

Testing is the validation of software against its requirements.  Usability testing is not different – The only requirement, in this case, is to validate if the software is as per a mental map of how a user would want the software to be like, what makes it comfortable for them to use, what kind of holistic experience is the user going to take away from the interaction etc.

Benefits of usability testing to the end user or the customer :

  • Better quality software to use.

  •  The software is easier to use in real world.

  • The software is more readily accepted by users.

  • Shortens the learning curve for new users.


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