Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Usability Testing

How do you know the design you're are considering is actually usable?Decorative graphic of a usability test

There are two major ways to learn this important information. One is the expert (heuristic) review. The other is usability testing. Cognetics offers both.

Usability evaluation - direct observation of people using prototypes or completed software - is critical as a means of understanding not only what they have trouble with, but why. Usability problems observed during a test are analyzed to identify which design principles or usability guidelines were not followed - and correct the design in the next iteration.

Our approach brings results:

  • clear examples that can be immediately used to improve an interface
  • better understanding of usability issues to improve future work
  • recommendations that consider business goals and technology constraint

We offer a range of options for usability tests can be conducted formally or relatively informally. They can be face-to-face or conducted remotely over the web.

Usability testing can be used to benchmark the current interface and create a clearer picture of the problems which need to be solved in the interface, and can also be used as part of the design process to test prototypes of new designs prior to full commitment and implementation.

Guerilla Usability Testing

Usability evaluation does not always require a formal test protocol. For situations where rapid evaluation can provide the user feedback needed to answer design questions, Cognetics can conduct low-intensity testing with simple prototypes.

Formal Lab Testing

When formal, face-to-face testing is required, we conduct it at a rented facility anywhere in the country or world, or at the client’s site, using a conference room or other private area.

We will supply the portable usability lab and operator and a test facilitator, plus one additional staff member, who will assist in observations and running the test. If the test facility is equipped with an observation room, other members of the staff can be invited to observe; if not, the video tapes of the session are available for later viewing.

Remote Testing

Increasingly our clients are requesting remote usability testing. We accomplish this over the web. As with traditional usability testing, we recruit participants using a carefully designed set of criteria we work on with you.

Unlike a traditional test, however, the participant accesses the website or application from his or her PC. We use web meeting software to watch the user on a remote PC. We use screen capture video to record every movement. However, unlike lab testing we generally cannot get an inset of the user's face since most users do not have webcams attached.

Thanks for contacting us. We'll be in touch shortly. Charlie & Anne

 What Makes Web 2.0 and Social Computing So Difficult?

  There are Ten Barriers to Web 2.0:

  1. Fear of hostile or embarassing postings that can damage your image.
  2. Concern that staff may act inappropriately or disclose proprietary information.
  3. Cost and time required for content development and maintenence.
  4. Compliance, regulatory and legal issues.
  5. The Generation Gap: employees have different expectations and use technology differently.
  6. Requirement for deep competence in usability and user experience engineering.
  7. Cross-departmental, cross-functional, cross-hierarchical, unfiltered communications.
  8. Concerns about security.
  9. What you don't know about how the competition is using these tools to their advantage.
  10. Balancing control with transparency.

  Web 2.0 is defined by agility, transparency, empowerment, user-centricity and creativity... not words typically used to describe most organizations. Managers are not prepared to manage in this environment.


Picture of Charlie Kreitzberg

Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.

is founder and CEO of Cognetics Corporation, a company that, since 1982, has created award-winning interactive designs that connect people and teams with computers.

Dr. Kreitzberg has designed the user interfaces for websites, software and rich internet applications for clients all over the world.

He developed a pre-web browser, is author of LUCID – the a widely used interaction design framework, and most recently In the Know!™ -- a software knowledge and communications tool for teams and their leaders.

Dr. Kreitzberg has lectured and consulted at corporations and universities worldwide. He has served as an expert witness in software interface patent disputes. He is Founding Editor of User Experience magazine; he has authored numerous articles and has served on the national boards of the Usability Professionals Association and the Society for Information Management. He holds advanced degrees in computer science and psychology. Dr. Kreitzberg serves as the Technology Director for Einstein’s Alley.

Download Charlie's Detailed Vita

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Download The First 10 Seconds as a PDF

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Our workshops are customized for you.people gathered around a laptop computer

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