About two months ago, I deployed version 1.0b of my online usability testing app, along with the redesigned WriteUX website. Built from the ground up in PHP, it is my first foray into remote usability testing. Since then, I’ve been chipping away at fixing various bugs (hence its beta status). The utility of the application is twofold:
- Allow users to quickly setup and run tests on their interface and design.
- Allow me to assist users with their usability queries.
This first version of the app lets you create two types of tests—click and content. Both test types require you to upload a screenshot of your application’s interface. Screenshots can be taken of mockups, prototypes or live environments—in short you don’t have to have a finished product to get testing!
In the click test, you mark out an area of on your screenshot, which is recorded as the target area for successful clicks, and provide instructions to test participants—e.g., “Where would you click to find information about product X?”. Set the maximum number of times test participants can click within the image, save the test and you’re done!
Content tests don’t require a target area and the aim is more to test how well your readers comprehend your content (i.e., your sales copy, product catalog, etc.). This is achieved by first creating an instruction—e.g., “Which option allows you full access?”. Create a set of optional answers, with the correct answer entered in first. The app automatically scrambles your options for the test participant when the test is taken.
All tests are hosted off a writeux.co.nz url. You can share this url with family and friends by copying it into an email or posting it to your twitter account from within the app. The results for each test are collated and can be viewed on the results page, which will look something like this:
That’s how tests are created, viewed and analysed. After you create a test, and jump into the test details page, you’ll see a third tab called “Advisor”. You can use this page to send the test to me for a usability review. This is really useful if you find that your test results are way off base, or you just need a thorough evaluation of your design or content. I, or one of my colleagues, will analyse your screenshot and any additional links or information you included (for context), and prepare a brief usability report for you. When you login in a couple of days, this report will be available to you from the Advisor tab.
As mentioned above, this is only a beta version of the app, and I’m keen to see how users respond to its various features. Alongside bug fixes and enhancements, I’m working on putting up a FAQ and forum.
If you think this is interesting and useful, head over to app.writeux.com and check it out. I’d love to know what you think about the app and other features you’d like to see—just drop me an email.