Usability Evaluation

There are generally three types of usability evaluation methods: Testing, Inspection, and Inquiry.

In Usability Testing approach, representative users work on typical tasks using the system (or the prototype) and the evaluators use the results to see how the user interface supports the users to do their tasks. Testing methods include the following:

In Usability Inspection approach, usability specialists -- and sometimes software developers, users and other professionals -- examine usability-related aspects of a user interface. Commonly used Inspection methods are:

Here, usability evaluators obtain information about users' likes, dislikes, needs, and understanding of the system by talking to them, observing them using the system in real work (not for the purpose of usability testing), or letting them answer questions verbally or in written form. Inquiry methods include:

Ask usability advisor about recommendations for usability evaluation methods for your project needs.

Extra: find a usability expert near you!

Usability Evaluation & Software Development Cycle. See how different usability evaluation methods can be used at different stages of software development life-cycle.

Cost of Usability Evaluation Methods
Find out how much it costs to run these usability evaluations.
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The Evolution of WCM: From Usability to Mobility - EContent (press release)

  • This Web site was originally developed when I was a summer intern at the Human Factors group of US WEST, with the help of Pawan Vora.
  • The way to classify usability evaluation methods into testing, inspection, and inquiry, and the description of some techniques, are borrowed and used with permission from the Usability Methods Toolbox by Mr. James Hom.