Would you be interested in collaborating on web usability testing?

Usability testing for websites is something many of us should do much better, and I’m as guilty as anyone. So why, I thought, don’t we do it together?

A lot of money can be spent on usability testing, but that doesn’t need to be the case; testing on the cheap with a few mates is way, way better than no testing at all. And doing it on the cheap means it can be done early and often, which is even better.

I suspect there are quite a lot of people like me in the voluntary sector who recognise the need for testing but feel like we lack the budget or expertise to do it right. But what if we got together occasionally and tested on each other? That way we’d develop our competence in the subject while also generating invaluable feedback on our work.

Off the top of my head, it would work something like this:

  • find an appropriate space (a room in an office would be ideal, but a friendly pub or coffee shop with free wifi would be fine);
  • divide the time (90 mins or 2hrs?) into testing slots (of 20mins?);
  • each person should be able to test their product on each of the others (or at least four if the group is large);
  • follow an existing model (such as advocated by Steve Krug).

If you’re reading this (if anyone is reading this) and thinking this could be a good idea, let me know in the comments below. If it seems popular I’ll have a go at setting up a meeting (which is likely to be either in London or Birmingham (UK)).

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

5 thoughts on “Would you be interested in collaborating on web usability testing?

  1. I think this is a great idea! We understand not everyone has the budget to pay for our services here at Bunnyfoot, but testing on each other is a nice start.

    Our London office always seems to be fully booked during the day, but we also have offices in Oxford, Reading, Sheffield and Edinburgh. It’s always worth an ask about borrowing one of those for your collaberative mission.

    And World Usability Day is coming up…we often feel generous around mid-November.

    Get in touch with me, let me know how you’re going. I would be interested to follow your success.

  2. Andy, this wouldn’t be a substitute for more extensive testing, just one way that we can help each other and get a bit of feedback at the same time. If it means the difference between people testing a little and not at all then I think it’s worth doing. Even testing informally on a group of four friends or colleagues produces a surprising amount of useful feedback.

  3. Andy’s got a good point actually on the subject of remote testing – we do this for International Testing. It’s not a bad idea if you can’t find a space – but watching someone use your designs is obviously better.

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