The Different Types of Usability Testing

The Different Types of Usability Testing

There are many types of usability testing to evaluate how your customers experience your website. Which test you use will depend on the purpose and goals of your research.

While web analytics provides an insight into various interactions on your website, it doesn’t delve deeper into the bug testing process. The more methods and techniques you use to gather evidence, the more likely you will be able to identify and solve your problems.

There are three types of usability testing:

Moderated In-Person

A facilitator will be located with the participant or in a group, and will be on hand to answer questions and respond to any feedback. To get a genuine result the test will usually take place in a lab and often unveils more than if you were having a participant undertake a task on their own.

Moderated Remote

This is similar to the in-person testing, but the facilitator and participant will be in separate locations and testing will be carried out using screen sharing software. The facilitator watches the participant use the software and identify any task flow issues.

Unmoderated Remote

The administrator sets some tests for people in a number of locations to interact with the software. You can collate a lot of data quickly, and in many cases, you will have a recording of the participant’s screen.

Problem Discovery

Also known as formative studies, the goal is to diagnose and fix as many problems as possible. It is a useful exercise to undertake during development and is one of the most important UX concepts.

A number of participants may attempt a few tasks and through this, you find the most common problem or how the interface can be improved. Testing is usually undertaken using a moderated approach, it can also be conducted through unmoderated testing if the participants think aloud and have their screens recorded.


Collecting benchmark data will tell you how well your website has performed.  The main criticism of this is that there is a level of artificiality which can question the validity of the findings.

Ask participants to undertake tasks on your website, and then again on a competitor’s website. The same test can be used to compare two designs and establish which one provides the best user experience.

Eye Tracking

The purpose of eye-tracking tests is to tell you where people are looking and tracking the motion of the eye between areas of focus.

Eye tracking software generates data about these actions in the form of heat maps which through colour can tell you how long they have gazed at any given point.


If people find it difficult to use a website, they will leave. Learnability testing will help you figure out how easy it is for participants to learn how to use your website and accomplish certain tasks. It can be hard to analyse the results, as each participant will have a different level knowledge and learning speed. There are a number of components to this line of testing, including looking at the number of errors and how pleasing the participant finds the design.

Author Gyles Seward

Gyles is our Managing Director and knowledgeable in all things WordPress.

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