Measuring Usability
Quantitative Usability, Statistics & Six Sigma by Jeff Sauro

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Usability Problems Topics


Are Severe Problems Uncovered Earlier in Usability Tests?

Are Severe Problems Uncovered Earlier in Usability Tests?

Jeff Sauro • October 30, 2013

An analysis of problems from nine usability test across different devices revealed no correlation between problem frequency and severity. This means that the first few users in a usability test are just as likely to encounter minor as much as critical problems.[Read More]


6 Steps to Identifying Usability Problems

6 Steps to Identifying Usability Problems

Jeff Sauro • September 17, 2013

It's relatively easy to spot when users have problems in an interface. It's a lot harder to know what, if anything, to do about them. To identify usability problems more efficiently, start by recording the unintended user actions, identify what in the interface is causing them, assign a severity rating and report the frequency in a problem list with screen shots and context to generate design solutions.[Read More]


Rating the Severity of Usability Problems

Rating the Severity of Usability Problems

Jeff Sauro • July 30, 2013

Accounting for problem frequency and severity are two critical ingredients when communicating the importance of usability problems. There have been many different scales proposed for problem severity, in general each method has a similar structure: a set of ordered categories reflecting the impact the problem has on the user, from minor to major.[Read More]


Prioritizing Problems in the User Experience: The FMEA

Prioritizing Problems in the User Experience: The FMEA

Jeff Sauro • January 22, 2013

The process of thinking through potential problems and knowing how to detect and prevent problems before they create a UX catastrophe is what the Failure Modes Effect Analysis (FMEA) is all about. It takes into account problem frequency, severity and ability to detect into a single priority number.[Read More]


The Value of Measuring Poor User Experiences

The Value of Measuring Poor User Experiences

Jeff Sauro • January 15, 2013

When we have a frustrating or poor experience, we can hate the product, tell our friends about our bad experience, post it to Twitter, and we probably will not use the service or product again. Using some familiar usability metrics and re-framing them, we can understand and eliminate poor experiences.[Read More]


Report Usability Issues in a User by Problem Matrix

Report Usability Issues in a User by Problem Matrix

Jeff Sauro • June 6, 2012

Organizing usability problems into a user by problem matrix helps estimate the prevalence of problems, the percent of problems uncovered and increases the clarity and credibility of usability testing methods.[Read More]


Measuring Errors in the User Experience

Measuring Errors in the User Experience

Jeff Sauro • May 15, 2012

Errors can be categorized as slips (like a typo) or a mistake (incorrect goal) and are common occurrences in usability tests. Errors are often caused by problems in an interface and lead to longer task times, higher task failure and lower satisfaction ratings. While errors can't be entirely eliminated, they can often be reduced substantially by reducing the opportunity for an error.[Read More]


10 Things to Know about Usability Problems

10 Things to Know about Usability Problems

Jeff Sauro • July 26, 2011

If you collect nothing else in a usability test it should be a list of problems encountered by users. It seems so simple yet there is a rich history of how many users you need to test, what constitutes a problem and which method to use.[Read More]


Is that a Usability Problem or a Feature?

Is that a Usability Problem or a Feature?

Jeff Sauro • July 19, 2011

A usability problem to one usability expert is a feature to another. There is a balance between business interests and user interests but the two aren't mutually exclusive. The discussion should be about short-term revenue at the expense of long term profits--not usability versus revenue.[Read More]


14 burdens placed on the user

14 burdens placed on the user

Jeff Sauro • July 5, 2011

I've listed 14 of the more frequent/painful burdens I experience in the hope we can shift the burden more from the human back to the computer: passwords, account numbers and confirmation dialogues get special attention.[Read More]


Four Terrific and Four Terrible User Experiences

Four Terrific and Four Terrible User Experiences

Jeff Sauro • May 24, 2011

When we look to improve the user experience of software or websites, sometimes the best improvements aren't slight tweaks to the interface but involve eliminating steps altogether. Here are four examples of terrific and terrible experiences from the physical world to inspire the digital one.[Read More]


How many customers should you observe?

How many customers should you observe?

Jeff Sauro • February 8, 2011

Observing customer behavior is an excellent way for discovering opportunities for product innovation. The number of customers you need to observe can be determined using the binomial probability formula and will vary depending on how common customer behaviors are and how certain you need to be.[Read More]


Can users self-report usability problems?

Can users self-report usability problems?

Jeff Sauro • October 6, 2010

When users document the usability problems they encounter during a usability test, they find around half as many problems as trained professionals watching users in a lab. This low-cost method is a good supplement to heuristic evaluations and user testing.[Read More]


How should you display links to PDF files?

How should you display links to PDF files?

Jeff Sauro • March 18, 2010

One consequence of analyzing user data is having to reconcile conflicting data-points. How would you display links to PDF files on a web-page?[Read More]


If 1 of 5 users has a problem in a usability test will it impact 1% or 20% of all users?

If 1 of 5 users has a problem in a usability test will it impact 1% or 20% of all users?

Jeff Sauro • February 1, 2010

Insurance companies do it, drug companies do it and so should usability testers. When you observe a problem from a small sample test, it is unlikely the problem only affects a tiny percentage of users.[Read More]

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About Jeff Sauro

Jeff Sauro is the founding principal of Measuring Usability LLC, a company providing statistics and usability consulting to Fortune 1000 companies.
He is the author of over 20 journal articles and 4 books on statistics and the user-experience.
More about Jeff...

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Jeff's Books

Quantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User ResearchQuantifying the User Experience: Practical Statistics for User Research

The most comprehensive statistical resource for UX Professionals

Buy on Amazon

Excel & R Companion to Quantifying the User ExperienceExcel & R Companion to Quantifying the User Experience

Detailed Steps to Solve over 100 Examples and Exercises in the Excel Calculator and R

Buy on Amazon | Download

A Practical Guide to the System Usability ScaleA Practical Guide to the System Usability Scale

Background, Benchmarks & Best Practices for the most popular usability questionnaire

Buy on Amazon | Download

A Practical Guide to Measuring UsabilityA Practical Guide to Measuring Usability

72 Answers to the Most Common Questions about Quantifying the Usability of Websites and Software

Buy on Amazon | Download

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