Opinions vs Hard Cold Fact

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Usability testing is not opinion gathering.
Dr. Jerz's Tips for Desiging Usability Tests

While the tips were all helpful and interesting, this first simple sentence was what helped me the most. You are not gathering the opinions of the users but rather how they actually performed when a task was put before them. Users can say they like the site all they want, but this is futile and meaningless if they cannot use the site in the way intended by the site designers. Don't shape questions to get the reaction you want from the user. Let them tell you how they really view the site by posing nonprejudiced questions and giving them jobs to accomplish. This will show you how a user really interacts with the site, not how they say they do.



Jed Fetterman said:

Are we conforming the user to the designer or the designer to the user? Or neither? Because if the designer makes a site for one reason, but the user can do the opposite of that super-efficiently, hasn't the sites mission changed. Maybe it would be more useful to make a whole new site devoted to the response you want, and leave the original website up for the new use that your users discovered. I really enjoy this usability testing section because it creates such philisophical discussions.

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