Usability Testing Boot Camp

Boost your web site's user experience by learning how to run your own usability test from start to finish.
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  • Lectures 48
  • Length 8.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 10/2013 English

Course Description

Learn how to carry out a usability test — the gold standard for measuring user experience.

This workshop will give you the confidence to run a usability test of your company's product, software or web site.

Unlike market research methods, usability testing shows how real people will use the product in the real world.

But there are several different types of usability test, making it difficult for design teams to agree on a technique. Usability testing is also very different from interviews or focus groups and requires a well-trained test moderator.

Crammed with insights from usability testing experts, you'll:

  • Master usability test moderation.
  • Discover how to choose between remote and lab-based tests, and moderated and unmoderated usability tests.
  • Get coached through the various steps you need to take to run your first usability test.
  • Hear experienced usability testers describe the problems you're likely to encounter when moderating and logging usability tests — and you'll find out how to solve them.
  • Download the forms, templates and cheat sheets that practitioners use in their job.
  • Learn battle-tested, persuasive techniques to present the results to developers, managers and clients.
  • Discover how to find test participants.
  • Benefit from industry insights from user experience expertslike Dr Deborah Mayhew, Dr Philip Hodgson, Miles Hunter, Dr Todd Zazelenchuk and Jeff Sauro in our unique, 15-minute masterclass interviews.

In short, this course will give you the kind of practical knowledge that you can’t get from reading a book.

All of the video lectures, templates and worksheets are download-enabled. If you have a slow internet connection, or want to take this course with you on your laptop, smartphone or other portable device, sign up and download all the videos and other course materials now.

And on completion of the training, you will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible for free, e-mail-based, refresher training.

Sign up now to get lifetime access to this course. With Udemy's 30-day money-back guarantee, it's risk-free.

What are the requirements?

  • A willingness to take the perspective of the user.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Structure a usability test plan to get buy-in from management and the development team.
  • Recruit the right test participants
  • Generate test tasks that are relevant to your customers and your business.
  • Identify the right usability test method for your product and its lifecycle phase.
  • Choose between remote and lab-based tests, and moderated and unmoderated usability tests.
  • Design usability tests that meet international standards in usability.
  • Master usability test moderation.
  • Collect and analyse behavioural data.
  • Persuade managers and developers to take action based on your test results.
  • Adapt our industry-standard forms and templates for your own tests.

Who is the target audience?

  • Interface designers who want to experience hands-on techniques for testing and evaluating their designs with end users.
  • Product development engineers and designers who want to choose the right usability test for the current product lifecycle stage.
  • Project managers who want to manage the usability testing process.
  • Marketing managers who want to see samples of usability test reports, usability questionnaires, screeners and other deliverables from usability tests.
  • Business analysts who want to use performance-based testing to communicate the cost-benefits of the user experience.
  • Web site designers who want to learn the kind of practical knowledge that you can't get from reading a book.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction – Why test for usability?
Why take this course?

Let's get introduced and review the course objectives.

6 questions

If we’re going to test for usability, we better define it first.

Take the quiz and make a guess at the missing words in the definitions of usability.


If we're going to measure usability, we need to define it first. In this lecture, I review various definitions of usability and show how they are all subsumed by the definition in ISO 9241-11.

Section 2: What’s so special about a usability test?

In a usability test, we make observations. But in order to fix the design, we need to know why the user behaved in such a way. Sadly, we can't just ask the user for insight. Here's why.


Usability tests don’t require a usability lab, observers, a moderator, screen recording or video recording. All these are ‘nice to have’. Focusing on these alone puts you at risk of running a ‘cargo cult’ usability test.


Dr Philip Hodgson is a psychologist with great insights into the merits of different usability test methodologies. He's also outspoken on why focus groups are such a poor choice for usability testing.

Section 3: Forming a Test Strategy

The usability test plan helps all the stakeholders understand and visualise what will happen so that they can comment and make suggestions accordingly.


What would happen if we compressed a usability test plan fit on one page?


Recruiting the right participants is critical to finding genuine usability issues, but how do you go about finding them?


Laura Ivory runs a company that recruits participants for usability tests and market research. Here she describes some of the things she's learnt.


In this lecture, we describe the main setups for running in-person usability tests: the portable test lab; the single room setup; the classic testing lab setup; the classic benchmark test; and the multi-room setup.


Join me on a tour of a usability lab.


Usability testing mobile devices poses some particular challenges. Here's some suggestions on how to overcome them.


In this lecture, I review the advantages and disadvantages of testing in the user’s environment; a rented usability lab; and remotely, via the Internet.

5 questions

Test your knowledge on what we've covered so far.

Section 4: Writing test tasks

Roads in London with red lines on them are known as red routes: these are the key road arteries in London. Transport for London does everything it can to keep these routes clear. Your product or web site has “red routes” too. They are the critical “user journeys” with your product. You need to identify your products red routes so you can run a task-based usability test.


To develop good test tasks for usability testing, you need to add some contextual information to your red routes.


Here's a useful tip for presenting your test tasks to test participants.

Section 5: How to moderate a “thinking aloud” usability test

I’m going to talk about three hats you wear when running a usability test. In practice, you tend to play each of these roles yourself, and that’s why this analogy of “hats” works so well. I’ve borrowed this idea from Carolyn Snyder’s excellent book titled 'Paper Prototyping'.


The second hat is the sports commentator hat. Just like in a football game, the facilitator has a better view than the observers. So reinforce any user action that may not have been obvious or visible to observers.


In this video, you'll watch a usability test participant being introduced to the test. You'll also see how the moderator sets up the 'thinking aloud' protocol.


In this lecture, I stop the video at certain points and explain why the test moderator said or did various things.


Now it's your turn to practice welcoming a participant.


Miles Hunter is a veteran user experience consultant and in this lecture he describes several tips for moderating a usability test.


The third hat is the scientist hat where you're responsible for avoiding test bias and recording the data.


If you're running software-based usability tests, there are some tools that can help you record the session and collate the results.


Taking notes in a usability test is an art unto itself. Here Todd Zazelenchuk, the inventor of the Usability Test Datalogger, describes his approach.

Section 6: Deconstruct a live usability test

Let's get read to watch a live usability test.


In this video, you'll see a participant taking part in a usability test of the Udemy system.


In this lecture I deconstruct the way I moderated the test and highlight some of the things I did well (and some things I did less well).


This video shows how I would datalog this usability test.


It's time for you to run your own test.

Section 7: Remote usability testing

Let's review the various types of remote usability test, both moderated and unmoderated.

Further Reading

How to Run a Usability Test with Users Who Are on Your Site Now - This article provides a useful step-by-step tutorial on the practicalities of setting up a remote, moderated session.


One challenge is setting up a remote usability test is helping the participant set up screen sharing. Here's an example of how to do this.


Benchmark tests, preference tests, 5-second tests (‘memory test’), click tests, labelling tests… here's a list of test types you can use.


You need to be careful about the questions you ask with unmoderated tests.


Finally, there’s one other type of remote test that you’ll hear about. These tests have the paraphernalia of a usability test -- such as the PIP video -- but they assume that the moderator’s role is insignificant. The problem is that often users will go off on the wrong track when they’re using your web site. In my experience, you really need a good moderator to keep the session on track.

Section 8: How to analyse the data from usability tests

With formative, thinking aloud tests, the “data” is really usability problems. With summative tests, we have some real numbers we can work with to define our system's usability.


In this lecture, I review two usability test survey tools and show you when to use them: the System Usability Scale (SUS) and the Single Ease Question (SEQ).


Test participants are often reluctant to be critical of a system, even when they've struggled with it. The Microsoft Desirability Toolkit is a way to encourage people to be more critical.


If you want to get more in-depth with using statistics in usability testing, you'll find Jeff's course, Practical Statistics for the User Experience, on Udemy. The course is priced at $199 but Jeff has offered a massive $49 discount to people on this course, which means you get it for $150.

Section 9: Reporting Results

Giving feedback to design teams is difficult because it’s a bit like telling a proud mum that her baby is ugly.


Here are some tips on creating a usability test highlights video that will get watched.


What does a client want from a usability test? In this video, Joanne Aldhous (who has commissioned several usability tests) provides some answers.


Dr Mayhew is a legend in the field of usability and in this interview she relates some tales from the trenches.

Section 10: Summary and Wrap-Up

I really want you to apply what you've learnt so sign up for refresher training!


Here are some sources you can use to take your learning further.


Please complete this short survey to let me know what you liked about the course and how I can improve it.

Section 11: DVD Extras

Here’s what we cover in the Q&A.


What happens when a business’s goals are not in alignment with users' needs? For example, what if your field research with users suggests you should work on something different to what the business is asking for.

Tommy Nguyen Duc

1. In Asian countries (like Vietnam and China), there are many IT outsourcing companies that deal with software development and testing. But the users of these systems are often based abroad. How can UXers work effectively in an Asian-based product team when their users are in another country (US, EU)?

2. How do you make UX profitable? How should you sell UX?

Josephine Caffrey

Good, Fast, Cheap - pick any two? What CANNOT be compromised if something has to give?

(On a separate note, I noticed a lot of typos in the video closed captioning. I rely on it because of office noises, accents, audio quality etc. )

Helen Brown

After taking yours and others' classes on user experience and usability, I feel still quite unsure (in practice) whether I am asking the right questions when forming the tasks for the users to perform. For example, I just performed a usability test on the navigational experience (i.e. finding the particular courses they were interested in) for an online educational website (similar to, but focused on a particular industry). While the tasks were good and we found out a lot of user pain points and even things we didn't know we didn't know...still, I can think of so many other tasks I could have asked for. I want to know how you prioritize your usability test tasks: how do you decide which tasks to ask users to carry out?

Allison Farquhar

What's your take on the future of the lone "UX Researcher"? Seems like I'm seeing more and more "UX Designer" jobs out there that require the research but they also seem to need significant design & programming skills.


What are the UX design differences when designing a website that aims to make money versus other types of web site, such as crowdsourcing sites, and social entrepreneurship?

How do you use to get people to participate in UX activities and give you personal information ?

Aditi Pany

We are setting up a new e-commerce venture with fairly ambitious goals, backed by a large company. What I'm trying to understand is where should the User Experience Designer / Officer sit in the organization structure?

What is the best practice? What are the trends?

Is this treated as a separate function where the team reports to the CEO or is this treated as a subset of Product Management reporting to the Product Management Head? Where is the industry trending? Does it depend on stage of the business.

What, if resources are NOT a constraint and we are not bootstrapping, but simply want to build an outstanding product for our users?

Lorena Leticia Garcia Arrache

1.- How should the UX/Designer/researcher role fit on tech projects?

2.- How should the software development process/workflow look? What are the UX/Designer responsibilities on software development projects?

3.- What areas of knowledge do you think I should look at or study to enrich myself (my professional background is in Graphic Design). Are there any specialized courses or seminars you could recommend about specific techniques, theories, methodologies, etc? Are there specialized publications to find out about the UX Design state of the art?

4.- As a UX Designer should I stop doing graphic design activities (implementing graphics and UI elements)? As a graphic designer I have been focused on creating visual elements but I really want to become a UX Designer.

5.- What is the difference between a UX Designer, a UI Designer and an interaction designer?

6.- Are there institutions doing formal research on UX Design?

7.- Is there a kind of UX Designer international certification?

8.- Can you provide a list of some companies successfully selling “UX Design" to other companies, organizations or individuals?

9.- How important is the UX Designer role for software companies? Is there a study about this? Are there many software companies that consider the UX Designer role?

10.- How can I "sell" the idea or importance of UX Design to my boss, my customer, the stakeholders?? How can I encourage investment in UX Design?

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Instructor Biography

David Travis, UX consultant and Udemy Outstanding Instructor

I'm on a mission to create more user experience professionals.

Perhaps you'd like a job in user experience. Or maybe you already work in the field but you've never had any formal training. Or maybe you want to improve your skills in one specific area, like usability testing or expert reviews. I've turned thousands of people into user experience designers and researchers and now you can join their ranks by taking my courses on Udemy.

You're probably curious about my background. At 18, I appeared as an extra in the film “Quadrophenia" alongside Sting and Ray Winstone. Despite a critically-acclaimed performance lasting 5 seconds, follow-up offers from Hollywood failed to arrive so I turned to psychology where I gained a BSc and a PhD. Since 1989 I've worked in the fields of human factors, usability and user experience and I've published two books on usability. I'm now the Managing Director of Userfocus, a consultancy specialising in user experience. I'm also an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Chartered Psychologist and a member of the User Experience Professionals Association. I'm no longer in contact with Sting or Ray Winstone, whose career trajectories have been somewhat different.

I've provided usability support to top brands like HP, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Orange, Skype, eBay and Yahoo! and I've also consulted with public sector organisations like The Greater London Authority, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, UK Government and the World Health Organization.

My students describe me as passionate and technically knowledgeable and students voted me a Udemy "Outstanding Instructor" in 2014.

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