How to Avoid Design Fails through a Usability Test


As web designers, one of the lessons that will come in handy is learning objectives. With these objectives, a designer will figure out whether a design has passed or failed a usability test. Here are few things that you should know.

Verbs are Magical

One of the books that can teach you about learning objectives is George Piskurich’s Rapid Instructional Design. These books will provide you with list of behaviors to start your success criteria.

For example, you need to describe or demonstrate your objectives for comprehension rather than just understand it.

After obtain a higher level, a participant might develop their work stage into “explain” or “organize”, and even “create” or “evaluate”.

Think through the End of the Session

When you start planning your next usability test and you’re working on tasks, you can ask yourself a simple question like, “What should a user be able to do with this design?”

This question will take you to these answers:

  • Track three hours of time for a particular project;
  • Generate an invoice to a client based on that tracked time;
  • Describe the difference between tracking time and logging time.

Those three statements will guide you to give three success criteria to the participants. Success is different with tasks, even though it may sound similar. Success criteria are for your team, while the task is for the participant in the context of the usability session. In fact, in the explanation above, you’ll see that success criteria are about describing something. For instance, following-up question to a task rather than completing a task.

Stakeholders Love Success Criteria

Since stakeholders’ orientation is on your results rather than on your process. They will be terribly irritated, if your presentation of the results is vague.

So, using success criteria can help you clarify whether your design is really successful. They make it easier to share those results.

To help you track your success criteria, you can create a simple table with a color coding, such as below:

web designer

On the table, you can find where the problems are and grounds the results in the experiences of actual participants.