What Is a Usability Testing Report and What Should It Include
Let’s assume you have just conducted a usability test on your product and are now wondering how you should analyze the results. The answer lies in creating a report that is the by-product of your usability testing. Reporting and usability testing go hand in hand – you cannot conduct great usability testing without effective reporting of your findings.
While usability testing is conducted to discover valuable insights directly from end-users, a usability report is a summary of the findings. It’s a document that is prepared after evaluating the qualitative and quantitative data gathered during a usability test, showing the findings and recommendations to help with improving your product’s UX.
Now that you know the definition of a usability report, let’s talk about what it should include.
What to Include in Your Usability Report
A usability testing report covers several variables. Here are some factors to include in yours:
This should explain the main reasons for conducting the test and list which products were tested (website usability, mobile usability, etc.). It should also provide information about the test participants (e.g. education level), sample size, testing location, and timestamps of when the study was conducted. A brief outline of all the steps taken to perform the test, the type of testing material used, and any observed setbacks (e.g. website usability issues, mobile usability issues) should also all be noted in the background summary.
Whether you employed session recordings or head-to-head testing, it is always worth including how your usability test was conducted. Also, mention the types of questions and which of the four question types – screening, pre-test, in-test, and post-test – were asked of the participants.
Describe your participants, their demographics, and why they were recruited in the first place. Providing a summary of their demographics - e.g. age, profession, sites visited, and internet usage - is fine, but you should refrain from using full names due to privacy concerns.
This is the key ingredient of a usability report. In it, you should create a table that features a summary of task completion rates, number of participants, types of assignments, and other data.
Findings and recommendations
These should be real findings that you observed, rather than merely assumed. Also, you can either make one overall list of your findings or have them segmented by scenarios.
Executive summary of the usability testing
Placing this at the top of your report will help instantly onboard anyone who comes across your report in the future.
With all of the above in mind, let’s now take a look at the key metrics that your report should include.
What Usability Metrics You Should Focus On
Usability metrics are standards of measurements that come in handy when you are trying to gauge the efficacy of a product. Without them, it would be virtually impossible to create a testing report. Here are some of the most important metrics to include in your reports:
As per the Nielsen Norman Group, the success rate is the simplest usability metric. It is usually defined by the percentage of tasks that actual users complete successfully, while the failure rate means the opposite. User success gives insight into how well your product resonates with its end-users, which is the main reason for conducting a usability test in the first place. The higher the percentage of completed tasks by the participants, the greater the chances of your product being a success.
The number of errors
Listing the average number of times an error occurred when a user was performing a given task is a good metric to focus on. You shouldn’t expect to achieve a completely perfect outcome with an interactive test because a user might make an accidental, human error - a typo, picking the wrong reservation dates for a flight, or clicking on the wrong image, etc - so you shouldn’t expect to achieve a completely perfect outcome with an interactive test. However, listing the average number of errors does point you in the right direction for diagnostic purposes. Scoring each error with a severity level and short description is also a good idea for understanding the functionality of your tested product.
This is a key metric to list in your report as it gauges the amount of time it takes for a user to complete a certain task or use a certain feature. This, in turn, measures the efficiency of your product. The less time a user spends performing a task, the higher the effectiveness of your solution.
User’s subjective satisfaction
This includes the personal thoughts of your participants regarding their level of comfort, behavior, and acceptability of product usage. This metric can be measured on either a quantitative or a qualitative scale in order to gain insights for your report.
For usability testing to be successful, your findings must be clear and straight to the point. Let us now look at a few tips to make sure your reports follow this mantra.
6 Tips for Usability Reporting
The following tips will be useful for everyone on your team in identifying the key problems with your digital or physical product and providing resolutions:
- Include visuals
We recommend that you include visuals in your reports. Most people have short attention spans, so keeping them engaged with long text descriptions can be really hard. Instead, providing annotated screenshots or, better yet, video clips from your session recordings will have a greater impact.
- Keep it short
No one likes to read pages and pages of formal documents. Writing concise and to-the-point reports, avoiding technicalities, is the key to getting the desired outcome.
- Prioritize usability issues
Avoid discussing every single issue that was encountered during the test. It is also a good idea to assign priorities to your issues when compiling them in the report. This way the higher priority issues are looked at first to ensure a reduction in production backlog.
- Use what you learned
It is important to take away constructive insights from your report and put them to good use. Implementing the findings into positive solutions will result in a much improved UX.
- Take advantage of quotes
To make your reports more credible, try to incorporate user statements. Adding direct quotes from the participants clarifies the basis of user viewpoint and gives your reports a greater impact. They also add character to your report and keep its readers engaged.
- Remember about the next steps
Always summarize your report with the proposed next steps. Having a solid plan of action to improve your product will enhance your report. Propose discussions and presentations that you should organize in the future based on the findings of your report. This will not only promote teamwork, but will also pave the way for product optimization.
Once you are armed with the aforementioned tips, try investing in a tool that can compile and organize your data in the best way possible.
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3 Tools That Help with Usability Reporting
Do you want your readers to understand the findings in your report easily? How about keeping them engaged from start to finish? In order to do so, we recommend that you invest in a professional reporting tool. Here are the top three reporting on usability testing tools that you should consider:
Google Data Studio
Google’s free-to-use, proprietary built-in visualization tool . It displays your quantitative findings by importing .xls or .csv files from Google Sheets. The best part is that it completely synchronizes with all of your files that are stored there. Every time your source files change, all of the data on Google Studio updates as well.
Source: Google Data Studio
This tool facilitates a collaborative approach. You can edit and work on your data in real time, together with your team members. It also offers a library of templates thatlet you design an instant and visually-appealing usability report.
This tool comes in handy when you are dealing with time constraints. It also makes it easy to merge and import data from multiple sources and create usability charts.
Let’s peek into the key findings that were discussed in this article:
- Usability testing and usability reporting go hand in hand – you cannot conduct great usability testing without providing efficient reporting.
- A usability test report is a document that is prepared after evaluating the qualitative and quantitative data gathered during a usability test. It offers findings and recommendations that eventually help with improving your product’s UX.
- A usability report should include metrics like background summary, methodology, audience, test results, findings and recommendations, as well as an executive summary of the underlying usability test.
- The main metrics to focus on when creating a usability report are average success rate, number of errors, time-based efficiency, and the user’s subjective satisfaction.
- Some tips for creating a usability report are including visuals, keeping it concise, prioritizing common usability issues, using what you learned, taking advantage of direct user quotes, and crafting your next steps.
- The top 3 tools that greatly help with usability reporting are Google Data Studio, Xtensio, and Chartblocks.
To sum up, your product is part of your brand identity and it should therefore not be compromised. Conducting usability testing and writing great usability reports is a surefire way of bettering your product and identifying weak spots, as well as reaching your target audience with a stronger, more well-crafted offer and improved aspects of user experience.