What to Expect in the Usability Report

From the first four posts in the series you now know the What, When, How, and Why of Usability Testing, centered specifically on User Testing.

When the test is done you will need to analyze the data from the test and write up your learnings. This is the usability report. If you’re working with a researcher like myself, then this is the deliverable that you will receive which breaks down the test and ultimately makes the recommendations for next steps. If you’re conducting the test yourself you should still take the time to write down your findings, even if it’s not quite as formal.

The summary should be a one page overview of the test that the stakeholder can review and have all the relevant information. This includes why you chose to perform the test, how many participants were tested and what persona(s) they fall into, the date(s) the test was performed on, and the key takeaways.

The introduction is a more in depth continuation of the summary explaining an overview of the decisions that brought you to the particulars of the usability test with details. An overview of usability testing and the steps you took prior to conducting the test.

Key Hypotheses
List the 1-3 hypotheses you made prior to executing the test. For example:

  • Users will be able to easily navigate from the welcome email into their account
  • Users will be able to buy a shirt after entering the home page
  • Users will be able to find and contact support

Now that you’ve conducted the test, what goals are you hoping to achieve?

  • Through a series of iterations, we will improve the comprehension of the data being presented by 80%.
  • Through a series of iterations, we will lower the user’s lostness score to below .2.

To read more about lostness score, read this Medium post by Shane Doyle.

Give an overview of your participants and include their demographic data and interview questions. If you have enough disparity add some pretty charts and graphs to show how they compare to one another.

Methodology & Scenarios
Some people seperate these into two sections, but I prefer to stick them together. Write up which testing methodology you used and then in a number list write up the scenarios you asked the users to walk through. You can copy them directly from the script you wrote for the test.

This section is broken down into four major parts:

  • Task Completion – A write up of each task and what the rate of success was for each user. Normally in the form of a table, followed up by detailed paragraphs.
  • Errors – any bugs that were found during the test.
  • Key Takeaways – Same as in your summary, the key learnings that you found in the test.
  • Notable quotes – one of my favorite parts. All those gems that your users spit out without even realizing how valuable they are. List them here. Mine tend to be a little longer than others I’ve seen because I’d rather have too many to pick from in the future than not enough.

The longest section by far. This is where you list all the problems you came across (beyond the key takeaways into the nitty gritty) and your recommendations about what to do about them. How I typically list them is:

  • State the problem – one sentence explaining the problem.  I also include a color-coded severity of the problem Low (green), Medium (orange) and High(red)
  • A screenshot for reference
  • Detail – an in-depth overview of the problem with reference to the participants issues
  • Recommendation – may include a simple wireframe to go along with the text recommendation
  • Additional comments (optional) – if there’s something beyond the recommendation that I feel needs to be addressed I’ll put it here

You repeat this until you’ve covered everything that has come up in the test.

This is usually 2-3 paragraphs analyzing the effectiveness of the test and suggestions for any next steps after the recommendations are implemented.

There you have it, a report to go along with all your hard work. As I recommended in the How portion of this series, UXPin has some great templates, including one for the report.

Next up: Pizza.

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