Users hear usability testing and think tests—maybe the SATs, GREs, grad school qualifying exams, or a math test from high school. I suspect few of us think of good things when we hear the word “test” or “testing.” The term “testing” in “usability testing” is misleading in many ways. We are not conducting tests of our users, but are having our users test our site or product. Our users cannot “pass” or fail the usability testing, but our sites and products can (and do).  So make sure you emphasize in your usability testing, perhaps in your welcome speech, that this is not a test of them, but a test of your site or product. Make it clear they should behave naturally. You can tell them that are helping you determine how usable your site or product is. I like to also emphasize that what I learn from watching them use the site will help me make the site more usable in the future.

From/Reference: Screen Space 19: Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 5— Conducting the Testing


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