Good usability testing takes a fair amount of planning. In order to get quality feedback from your test participants, it is essential to carefully craft your tasks ahead of time, make sure your software is ready for users to play with it, and make sure everyone on your team is in agreement when it comes to the goals, procedures, and desired outcomes of the testing.
At Atomic Object, we’ve created a “Usability Test Starter Kit” to help bootstrap this planning process. The starter kit is a collection of documents with suggested procedures to follow including tried-and-true scheduling tactics, facilitator scripts, and a test plan overview document.
The kit has been very useful to us here, so we’re offering it as a free download.
The starter kit includes the following items:
- Sample Consent Form – a sample consent form for recording the test.
- Sample Facilitator Script – a pretty generic script for facilitating a usability test. Modify as necessary for your project’s particular needs.
- Sample Participant Script – includes the tasks that you will have your participants perform. you will need to extensively edit this document to reflect your particular testing goals and your project’s needs.
- Observer Notes – Notes sheet for observers with reminders about how and what to observe. Useful to hand out to all team members who will be observing the test.
- Notes On Usability Testing – General notes compiled by designers at Atomic Object. Good to review while working on a usability test plan.
- Sample Usability Testing Plan – A Usability Testing Plan is a good document to distribute to all team members (both internal and client.) It is the place where you include a general overview of the procedure that will be followed, as well as logistical information such as dates, time, location, and computer needs. Augment and modify the usability testing plan as necessary for your usability test’s needs.
- Checklist.txt – A checklist of things to do and remember before and during the test. Review each day you are prepping or running the tests.
We keep the starter kit in a Git repository so that it’s accessible to every team in the company. When a team is ready to conduct a usability test, they can copy the kit and modify each part of it to reflect the details of their particular project. Additionally, if a team tries out something new or has tips to share, they can add updated artifacts to the repo. That way, the kit evolves and grows along with our usability testing process.
The materials in this kit were collaboratively created by Paul Hart, Jared Sartin, Matt Fletcher, Shawn Crowley, Brittany Hunter, and others at Atomic Object.