Qualitative or Quantitative Usability Testing?

Twitter Facebook

by Michaela Mora
Follow Me on Twitter Here

Usability Testing Environment

A client recently asked for advice about usability testing approaches. Her internal client wanted to do a traditional usability lab test, while she was wondering if a quantitative online usability approach was a better fit.

This question got me thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. As usual, no research method is perfect and each has his strengths and weaknesses. There are many tools available to do quantitative usability testing online faster and cheaper. Although these can also provide qualitative data, usability testing in the lab environment can give you a deeper layer of insights into user behavior on specific issues.

The table below shows what I have learned about usability testing, after managing two usability labs in my past life as a corporate market researcher.

Usability testing

Each usability testing approach has a purpose and complement each other. If timing and budget permit, you should use both. If you can only afford one or the other, think hard about the objectives and the type of decision you will make based on the results.

For detecting major problems or understanding at a deeper level why people find certain tasks difficult to do or what their expectations are, a qualitative approach is a more appropriate. On the other hand, if you need to make a decision about major changes or a redesign and need to know how big of a problem you have in your hands, or how you compare to your competitors, a quantitative approach would do the trick.



Tags: ,



No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

 

Subscribe
To Our Blog
Read market research articles with zero fluff!

Our Clients Say...

Relevant Insights is very thorough in how they go about thinking through and performing data analysis. Not only do they have a great appreciation of how quantitative tools can work but they can translate them clearly to business implications. Michaela, the founder is also a great thought partner in terms of research tools and applications in general and takes a high degree of pride in delivering the best possible.

Joanne Kok, Manager, Consumer Research and Usability
Travelocity
Certifications
  • Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

  • Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

  • Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), State of Texas

  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency (NCTRCA)