Usability Testing (You are not your users)
The most important thing to remember about design is that you are not your users. The design principles that I previously covered will help you set the groundwork for a usable system, but the best way to see if your system is usable is to test your users using it.
Remember the law of familiarity. Admins are in Salesforce all the time. What makes sense to you may because of your history with the platform may not make sense to someone who is just in Salesforce to enter program data.
The is doubly true when you’re doing a redesign or introducing a new feature. You’ve developed familiarity with your design through the time that you spent creating it. It can be hard for you to tell if something makes sense because of its design or because you’ve developed a learned association.
Usability Testing vs. User Acceptance Testing
You’ve probably does user tests in your system before, but it’s likely those were user acceptance tests. User acceptance testing checks to see if your systems working correctly, for instance, does the “Total Payments” rollup accurately calculate all the payments?
Usability testing checks if your users are using your system correctly. For instance, do they know what the “Total Payments” field is? Do they use it like you want them to use it?
Usability Testing in Six Steps
1. Identify users
Survey a range of users - new users, super users, and users who still struggle.
2. Introduce a scenario or task
This is what you’ll be testing! Something like, “create a new contact” or “find the date of someone’s last donation.”
3. Ask the user to narrate their thoughts while they complete the task
Their narration will give you insight into your design. What parts do they understand? What parts are they missing?
4. Observe the user complete the task (silently!)
This may be the hardest part of user testing - but it’s important for you to stay silent. You won’t always be there to guide them when they’re using Salesforce.
5. Ask follow-up questions after the task
This is your chance to dig in to the actions you observed and get more feedback on the design.
6. Iterate & repeat!
Make the necessary changes, find more users, and repeat!
Usability Testing Quick Tips
Not everything is perfectly intuitive the first time around. You can test “learnability” by asking the same user to complete the same task multiple times. If they get it after a couple tries, great! If they still need help weeks later, you should reassess your design.
If you or your users don’t have time for dedicated usability testing - wrap it in with training. When your users ask you how to complete as task, have them show you how they do it first before you show them. This will give you some quick insight to the usability of your design.