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Enhancing the Usability with a Balance between Structured and Exploratory Testing

 

Ever thought you wanted to plan for something through-and-through but also wanted to go with the flow? This difficulty of either comprehensive planning or exploring as things come your way performs a key role for usability testing as well. When it comes to enhancing the usability for customers, the center area becomes the seamlessness of their user experience (UX). For this, the correct strategy comes from bringing a balance between a structured and an exploratory procedure to testing.

 

The Nuances Within Structured Testing and Exploratory Testing

The nature of structured testing lies in the coherent planning for developing test cases and performing the same. On the other hand, exploratory testing is based on the idea to test an application on the go without any set structure. However, this does not indicate that exploratory testing becomes a random effort – it is a well thought of method which goes hand-in-hand in terms of test planning and test execution. There are structured exploratory test efforts too that are popular in the industry.

Where a structured testing effort describes the set goals for an application, exploratory has a broadened range and canvas for a test effort.

These nuances perform a key role when it comes to usability testing – with a melange of structured and exploratory differences:

 

Usability Testing with a Structured Approach

With structured testing for enhancing usability, each and every step is prepared for the components and focus areas to test inside. It usually includes tangible objectives and weighs on how well the real product (or prototype) satisfies customers’ expectations.

Engaging real end-users is ideal or people who meet the characteristics of a real user, as nearly as possible, should be included in a well-planned manner. It also involves studying users’ requirements in line with the different components and business flows of the system.

The outcome or the user feedback is formally documented and shared with the stakeholders at the end of the cycle. This strategy thus follows a cogent and streamlined process for usability.

 

Usability Testing with an Exploratory Approach

With exploratory testing for enhancing usability, an application is tested from the viewpoint of an end-user – it does not describe a rigid strategy but goes in line with an intuitive one to recognize users’ pain points.

It becomes somewhat a non-formal version of the structured strategy wherein there are no inelastic focus areas. Real users should be included as much as possible, keeping in mind the fact that experts, sometimes, are incapable to look beyond the obvious – which a real user can easily identify.

Users herein, are randomly picked and are asked to give generic feedback of the product after utilizing it – with either no or very little knowledge, support, or training of the product. 

These two methods, however different, focus on the same goal, i.e., enhancing a product’s usability. They become equally important and striking a balance between the two helps accomplish this goal seamlessly.

 

The Right Balance in Usability Between Structured and Exploratory Testing

Perception is a fundamental component that makes all the difference when it comes to usability testing. What procedure to take or strategy to adopt, become areas of consideration in improving users’ experience.

Over the years, users’ behavior has experienced a massive transformation. To have what it takes in making the usage of the targeted audience easier, efficient and seamless, becomes a game-changer for companies. 

This thus, calls for the requirement to amalgamate coherent and structured testing with exploratory testing. Where a structured strategy would help in enhancing usability with a concrete focus on specific areas within an application or a website, an exploratory strategy would help tackle the unanticipated issues that may appear for users.

With the pandemic’s onset, the digital domain observed a completely new user-base. This made the need to decide new strategies in enhancing user experience based on different personas and to make products more inherent and significant – calling for a structured strategy for testing.

In parallel, exploratory testing became as important to recognize and tackle real-world scenarios which could get missed in translation while following structured testing. With or without the pandemic, both these methods help arrive at an all-inclusive product in terms of usability. 

 

Accessibility and Usability Go Together

A fundamental domain that becomes complimentary to usability is accessibility. Since both go hand-in-hand, providing to the requirements of differently-abled users for developing an accessible product becomes equally significant. With a structured strategy, incorporating accessibility can be practiced up early on rather than as an afterthought.

At the same time, exploratory testing can also help in identifying inaccessible components which might have been missed in the beginning stages. 

However in both the strategies, involving real-end users, i.e., differently-abled users, would help create the product seamless as their real pain points would be taken into account.

A novel strategy that can be followed is that of a paired testing strategy– wherein a differently-abled user operates alongside an SME for identifying and eradicating pain points to deliver realistic and reliable results.

Thus, accessibility becomes a significant facet, which needs the right blend of structured and exploratory testing efforts for enhancing usability.

 

To Conclude

A harmonious mix of exploratory testing and structured testing for usability testing surely helps create products wholesome in terms of recognizing maximum bugs and testing against specific focus areas as well as unexpected scenarios.

 

Enhancing a product’s usability with both prospects would speak more to the users as their coherent feedback is brought into consideration. 

TestUnity experts hold hands-on expertise in the domain and follow a cohesive strategy in making a product seamlessly usable. In the quest of keeping users first, our mantra follows with your vision in enhancing your product’s usability through our excellent usability testing solutions.

 

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