Usability testing is the task-based assessment of a design direction. Here, participants execute predefined tasks requiring them to interact with various elements, features, etc. of a design direction. Performance can be assessed in a variety of ways depending on what it is you are trying to find out or measure.
Example: Student | Dynamic Geometry Tools
Moderated 1-on-1s are excellent when your experimental design requires a great deal of control and when what you are trying to measure is quantitative in nature (such as time on task). Here, each participant executes the same predefined tasks on their own. Results are then used to formulate an unbiased average.
Example: Students | Studio Collaboration
Example: Principals | Usage Reporting Dashboards
Moderated Group Usability tests should be used when:
- The product / feature you are testing is collaborative in nature and/or requires multiple end-users to complete a task.
- You’re not as concerned with quantifying individual task performance as you are getting a grasp on the product / feature’s general learnability.
Number two is not as self-explanatory so I’ll provide more context. I have found that when you sit 4-5 students or educators together at a table (each with their own device) and present them with loosely defined tasks to complete on their own, they naturally gravitate towards helping each other complete the tasks. The benefit being the highly qualitative conversations and interactions that occur between the participants.
Example: Teacher | Classrooms Prototype