November 6, 2015
Understandability is one of the quality attributes we talked about in our post “Mobile Usability Testing”. Understandability defines how easy it is for the user to understand a product system.
Usually understandability is provided by the capability of each system component to enable the user to understand what the purpose of the component is, how can it be used for particular tasks and conditions of use. Users should be able to select a component suitable for their intends and feel intuitively how to operate them. The system interfaces and operations should be easy to understand and evident in their applicability. Informational tooltips, auto-highlighting of the target elements, short-but-complete and useful information messages and warnings, etc. may help a lot. Moreover, the system styles and controls, the overall functionality and appearance shall be either familiar or very intuitive, acceptable and easy to get for the user.
Today products’ functionality grows more and more as well as the product system gets more complex and sophisticated. That’s why understandability is not so easy to reach as it seems. The truth is that understandability attribute, as well as the rest usability attributes, is hardly-testable. The common reason for it: there is nothing to measure. No straight and clear acceptance criteria, no way to define what is required.
Therefore, the testing approach is still the same as for all usability attributes:
- to find focus-group that has no guides, help topics and manuals to learn about the product system work
- to give them a system for some definite period of time (not very long, as common user won’t spend a lot of time on the application he/she doesn’t understand)
- after the usage period ask them to fill the form with the checklist and commented feedbacks
- compare the system to the similar products and promote using best practices seen in widely-spread and well-known apps.
Yulia has been with Core Value as a QA Manager for over 4 years. Yulia enjoys physical training, travelling, and playing the piano.