Strengths and weaknesses of user testing

Understanding user requirements in general leads to more usable and accessible products as user involvement brings together people with people (talking about designs, interaction techniques and developments) although there are some challenges.

Strengths

Involvement of those with disabilities in usability testing allows you to understand individual user needs and preferences in particular with those who may have cognitive impairments.

It is also possible to gain greater insight into the impact of the use of assistive technologies on the ease of use along with adaptive strategies, and the barriers that occur with certain web services.

To maximise the positive impact of usability testing, early and iterative integration in the design and the development process is recommended1.

Weaknesses

Despite the benefits of user testing there are challenges such as:

  • Recruiting users with disabilities – where do I find users with mobility impairments?
  • User testing takes time and might be too expensive for smaller companies. Remote testing can be a solution, but it has been shown that not every usability method of testing works with those who have disabilities2.
  • Results might not be representative due to small numbers of participants.
  • User testing is usually conducted under controlled conditions and does not reflect real life situations.

© This text is a derivative of a work created by Technische Universität Dresden, and licensed under CC-BY BY 4.0 International Licence adapted and used by the University of Southampton. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.


References:

  1. Henry, Shawn Lawton. Just ask: integrating accessibility throughout design. Lulu.com, 2007. 

  2. Miao, Mei, et al. Contrasting usability evaluation methods with blind users. Universal Access in the Information Society, 2014, S. 1-14. 

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This article is from the free online course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society

University of Southampton