Why I prefer Expert Reviews over Usability Testing

— By FeedbackGuru —
Please don’t get me wrong, I do love the general idea behind Usability Testing, but I am not a big fan of the overall process. I am still very skeptical about the usefulness of Usability Testing as such.

Let me try explaining a few disadvantages:

  • Users are not always honest about their opinion which sometimes leads to wrong conclusions. This is critical.
  • Users may not always be the actual customers, they might pretend to be one, but may not be representative of the real life scenario.
  • Usability testing is qualitative, we quickly jump to conclusions based on a few random user feedback.
  • Remote Usability Testing process in most of the cases done using random users or website members. They may not always be motivated about providing actual feedback.
  • Remote Usability Testing users may not even be located where you run your business. A lot of companies outsource the testing. Trust me, right demographic does matter when it comes to gathering feedback.
  • Very often, as a client, you receive multiple comments from multiple users as a result of Usability testing. Now, its your turn to interpret all these comments and concerns. Compiling it all and come to a conclusion using these bulk comments could simply be challenging.
  • Keep in mind, often times, user comments (especially when it’s done remotely) could be very abstract and generic. It is hard to make sense of it all. Don’t always except accurate and insightful feedback.
  • Usability testing can highlight a few major problems but it misses a lot of minor but critical issues.
  • Usability testing is typically performed late in the software development cycle. It is highly unlikely that software developers and designers will make significant changes to the user interface during the late stages of development unless the problem is critical. It simply means that minor problems identified during testing will likely be ignored.
  • Usability testing, onsite or remote, is a long process- from finding right users to creating questionnaires to getting the results. A lot of clients can not wait this long for any feedback they may or may not eventually use.
  • Onsite usability testing with right users is always recommended, but it comes with a cost. You not only pay the users to participate but you also pay for equipments and facilities used for these testings.
  • Often times, clients control the testing scenarios and users stick to those. It simply limits the testing scope and prevents testing of all the available functionalities within a web application or website. Creating specific scenarios also limits the scope of feedback.


Alright! Let’s now discuss why I prefer Expert Reviews over Usability Testing.

Expert reviews simply means getting feedback from design experts, people who design web applications and websites as professionals. A fresh set of (expert) eyes can notice the minor as well as major design issues. These expert designers follow industry best practices when they perform the testing.

A few more reasons to prefer expert reviews:

  • I prefer testing applications or websites at different intervals, this gives me an opportunity to fix things in early stages of the process. A quick expert testing always helps.
  • Experts can find a lot of different problems in different areas of a system (web apps or websites). They examine the entire site or application, they usually don’t focus on just one or a few specific scenarios. They give a broader look and find issues you may not have ever noticed.
  • Expert reviews result in a comprehensive view of the entire system. This is much more effective than getting feedback just on a specific scenario.
  • Expert reviews is a quicker process than usability testing (onsite or remote).
  • This is far more cost effective. This enables you to do these reviews multiple times during a project. Here at FeedbackGuru.com, we provide feedback at a strikingly cheap price. If you can afford, you can also try Nielsen Norman Group where they charge astonishing price which ranges from $38,000 to $100,000 for reviews.
  • It is always recommended that expert reviews are done by multiple experts (at least 2 or 3). This eliminates the idea of one sided opinion or a specific preference.
  • The best of all, design experts can not only identify issues, they can also provide you with design solutions. They can explain exactly how to implement suggested changes.

In Conclusion, both methods may have their advantages and disadvantages, however, you can even combine them. You can always verify experts comments during usability testing and vice-versa. Either way, the idea is to create a simple and usable product, which could produce a great user experience. Always remember, even a small design change can significantly improve the user experience (and your business).

Summary
Why I prefer Expert Reviews over Usability Testing
Article Name
Why I prefer Expert Reviews over Usability Testing
Description
Users are not always honest about their opinion which sometimes leads to wrong conclusions. Usability testing is qualitative.
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