This week’s reading was Chapter 8 “The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends” and Chapter 9 “Usability testing on 10 cents a day”
These chapters discuss the importance of usability testing.
In the first chapter, it addresses why just focusing on a web design team’s opinion on the usability of a website is a waste of time, and how to avoid wasting time. Left to their own devices, web development teams can rehash old problems, rather than finding the real problems and therefore the correct solution. The only way to actually find the most effective website for users, is to test it. When a group is working on a project, they can be looking too closely, looking as a web designer, not a typical user (unless of course the site is for web designers).
The second chapter discusses the importance of user testing early on into the process. The reason for that is fairly easy common sense that can be easily missed. If the website is tested early on, problems can be caught sooner when there is still time to fix it–allowing for the best possible version of the website to be available upon launch. When user testing is put off until the end of the process, there is often not time to create real changes (or anything more than minor tweaks). Unfortunately, the best user experience may be missed in this situation.