Usability Testing: Training for Web Developers

I am in the process of building “training” for Web Developers specifically for how to do Usability Testing. I put training in quotes because right now I am just working on content. I suspect this content could be delivered a numbers of ways (classroom-esque, 1-on-1, screencasts, etc.).

The premise: There’s all types of testing that can be done on a web app or site. Unit, Integration, System, etc. With that, there are many Web Developers who don’t have access to someone who focuses on Usability Testing.

We know Usability Testing uncovers many issues that are usually solvable, so instead of skipping it, why not put the power, so to speak, in the hand of someone who cares about quality and can run a few more tests?

I don’t see this as a way to avoid or ignore having a Usability Expert dive deep into the app or site, but more a way to get a good understanding of what issues the user will face with the app or site said Developer is… um.. developing, by putting some simple tools in their kits.

There are many ways to conduct a Usability Test and get good feedback. The main deciding factors being what you are testing and how solid you need your findings to be. The training I am working on would help Web Developers figure that out then walk them through how to do it. Ideally without much overhead or impact to schedule.

As I go about developing this content, I want to make sure I get the right stuff in, beyond the basics of getting decent data out of a usability session. That’s where you come in.

If you are a Web Developer or if you have strong opinions about this (in a constructive way), let me know in the comments below about what you’d expect to see, learn, walk away with after getting training on how to run a usability session.

One Comment

  1. anonymous says:

    As a web developer who has never observed or conducted usability testing, I would expect to learn the types of testing that are appropriate for different projects – is it more useful to simply observe a user navigating around as if they’ve just come across your site in the wild or is it a better idea to give a specific task and observe the user attempting to perform it? Or does it depend on the project which approach is best?

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