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4. Measuring Web Site Usability > 4.1. Hacks 54–67: Introduction

Hacks 54–67: Introduction

According to the Wikipedia, usability testing is “a means for measuring how well people can actually use something (such as a web page, a computer interface, a document, or a device) for its intended purpose."Testing generally measures how well a small group of subjects, recruited especially for the test, respond to four areas: time on task, accuracy, recall, and emotional response. Although web site measurement is not usability testing, it can often provide a great proxy for usability tests, allowing you to run simple usability tests on an ongoing basis over a much larger audience.

The essence of usability testing is to provide subjects a specific goal, watch them perform the task, and take notes along the way. One of the most powerful things you can do with usability tests is to gather developers and executives together (perhaps not at the same time) behind one-way glass and have them watch the test subjects in action. Regardless of your position in an organization, watching normal folks struggle with your beautiful creation can be heartbreaking.


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