The usability test is divided into three basic phases:

1. Preparation phase: Create a concept describing what you intend to do, what it is about, what your goal is, what you want to find out and what your test object is, e.g. website, app, product.

2. Furthermore, you should determine the location where the test will be conducted. Should it be done remotely or in person? (See the setup on the right for a remote execution.) Define the different roles needed, e.g. test leader, observer, etc.

3. Recruit the test subjects. In order to detect at least 85% of the defects of a prototype, at least 5 test persons should be recruited. They should be similar to the user.

4. Define exact test scenarios. Which tasks should the test persons perform on the prototype? As many different use cases as possible should be tested.

5. Make sure that you have all the necessary materials for the application test. It is best to conduct a pilot test with another project manager.

6. Implementation phase: In this phase you start with the welcome of the test person. Explain the process and the tasks of the test scenarios to the test person. Then carry out the tests. While the probands are performing the test, have them share their thoughts. This method is called the think-aloud method. In parallel, the observers should accurately document the performance.

7. Follow-up phase: Evaluate the documentation and findings (video, audio and notes) and present the results to the team. Use these results to optimize the user-friendliness of the website, product, or app.

More about the tool

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Usability testing can be helpful for identifying ambiguities in order to develop the most user-friendly product possible.
  • Testing on a prototype can validate a concept first and help to make plans for future features before investing a lot of money to create a final product.
  • Usability testing is a great way to develop empathy for the people who will later use the product.


  • Creating a well thought-out concept requires a lot of time for preparation and a certain level of experience or training.

Application into practice

The sub-project "Community between tradition and change (Village 4.0)" developed the idea of a village app in mü together with the residents of the Ellewick-Crosewick community. This idea came about through the World Café method. The village app should contain functions such as a carpooling center, village groups, a calendar of events. During the course of the project, those responsible for the project have already made great progress in developing a prototype. Before the technical implementation of the prototype, the user-friendliness was tested by the villagers - later users. For this purpose, the subproject used the usability test. Beforehand, those responsible for the project developed a detailed concept for the usability test. The concept addresses the test object, the question, the basic usability of the app, the selection of the test subjects and contains a detailed interview guide. Due to the physical distance, the usability testing was conducted online. The test subjects were given various tasks to perform on the prototype, such as: "You want to know what is happening in your village on October 14. How do you go about it?"; or "You want to go to Enschede and are looking for a ride. How do you look for this information in the app?" Participants expressed their thoughts aloud during the test scenarios. This allowed the project managers to identify some ambiguities that will be helpful to them in the further development of the village app. Finally, a general evaluation and subjective impressions of the village app were asked for using a questionnaire. Overall, the project managers were able to gather very useful insights for the further development of the app through the usability test.

Hints from practice

  • Do not invest too much time in the details of the prototype, as these may have to be changed again after the usability test.
  • Rather, conduct usability tests early and more often. Before the test, make sure that the test scenarios are clearly defined and you know how you want to measure your findings.
  • Let the test subjects think out loud, i.e. they should tell you as much as possible what is going through their minds while performing the tasks.


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