Usability Testing to Achieve a Better User Experience

Amrisandha Prasetyo
5 min readJun 8, 2021


What Is Usability Testing

Usability testing is the practice of testing how easy a design is used by a group of representative users. This testing usually includes the process of user observation as they attempt to complete defined tasks. Usability testings are often and should be done repeatedly, as they produce key insights for improvement during the whole iterative development process before the product’s code development and release.

In usability testing, a researcher (called a “facilitator” or a “moderator”) asks the participant to perform the defined tasks, observes the participant’s behavior while completing the task, then asks for the participant’s feedback of the design.

“It’s about catching customers in the act, and providing highly relevant and highly contextual information.”

— Paul Maritz, CEO at Pivotal

Why Conduct Usability Testing?

Usability testing enables designers or researchers to evaluate a product by testing it on potential users. Therefore, designers or researchers can identify how usable the current product is and what to improve in terms of user experience. Moreover, usability testing is a good way to dive deeper into users’ needs and preferences by watching their behavior and response while using the product.

The main objectives of usability testing are to:

  1. Determine whether potential users can complete tasks successfully and independently.
  2. Evaluate users’ behavior and response when they try to complete tasks, to see how well the design works.
  3. See how much users enjoy using the product.
  4. Identify opportunities to improve.
  5. Identify problems and their severity.
  6. Find the solutions to identified problems.

Elements of Usability Testing

There are three main elements of usability testing as follows:

The Facilitator

The facilitator guides the participant throughout the usability testing process. They explain how the usability testing will be conducted, give the participant the defined tasks, answers any of the participant’s questions, and asks the participant follow-up questions.

The facilitator works to ensure that the test results that are high-quality, valid, unbiased, and uninfluenced.

The Tasks

The tasks in a usability testing represent the realistic activities that users might go through in real life. These tasks are then given to the participant of the usability testing, so they can try to complete those said tasks. The task instructions can be delivered to the participant verbally (the facilitator might read them) or can be handed to a participant written on task sheets.

The Participant

The participant should represent a realistic user group of the product. This means that the participant might already use the previous version of the product or just have a similar background or needs to the target user group if they aren’t already a user of the product.

Participants should be asked to think out loud during usability testing. This means that the facilitator might instruct the participants to explain their thoughts and actions while they try to complete the given tasks. The goal of this approach is to understand participants’ behaviors, goals, thoughts, and motivations.

Conducting Usability Testing for Crowd+

To get early feedback from potential users, we conducted a quick usability testing for the annotator application of Crowd+. We prioritized the annotator application of Crowd+ due to the fact that this application would be used by most amount of users compared to the admin and project provider application of Crowd+.


To explore areas of improvement and identify users’ pain points when using the desktop version of the annotator application of Crowd+.

Usability Testing Process

First, we designed the tasks based on the main activities annotators can do on the platform. Then, we recruited the participant of the usability testing based on the annotator persona of Crowd+. We conducted the usability testing by using the existing prototype on Figma.

The Annotator Persona of Crowd+

Task Scenario & Results

1. Apply to a Project

You are interested in applying to an annotation project about … . There exists a project that is about that. What do you do?

2. Complete a Project

You have been accepted to the annotation project about … . You now need to finish the project to receive the incentives. What do you do?

3. Profile Edit

You have found out that you’re name on your profile is incorrect. What do you do?

Usability Testing Results

Usability testing in action!

1. Apply to a Project

  • The participant really liked the details provided when applying to a project that is also relevant
  • The participant was a little confused with the term “total point”
  • The participant really liked the fact that he can find a project fast with the presence of a search bar
  • The participant suggests providing a project sorting option by biggest incentive

2. Complete a Project

  • The participant suggests providing a project sorting option by deadline and least questions answered

3. Profile Edit

  • The participant is already satisfied with the profile edit user flow.

Overall, the participant is satisfied with the functionality of the current version of Crowd+. However, he suggests further improving the features of the product, such as a page that displays the recapitulation of the annotator’s achievements.


Usability testing is a practice to test how easy a design is used by a group of representative users. They produce key insights for improvement during the whole iterative development process before the product’s code development and release, therefore should be done as often as possible.

We definitely felt the advantages of conducting usability testing, as it helped us identify areas of improvement and also issues that potential users can face when using this product.



Amrisandha Prasetyo

Computer science student at Universitas Indonesia | Aspiring product designer 🎨💻