The testing process is as follows:
Design the test and write a test script: Firstly, how many people do we need? Usually between 5-8 participants is enough. We ask the test participants to complete the tasks with instructions, as needed. For some tests, there may be minimal instructions as the test may be designed to assess what initial affordances exist in the site being tested, and if they translate to a modality the test participant can understand.
Recruit participants: We find suitable test participants from our panel. These may be people who have a range of disabilities and use assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, or who are keyboard only, use switch or voice access technologies. Our panel may have other accessibility related needs. They may or may not use assistive technology at all. Our test participants all have varying levels of assistive technology (AT) proficiency from beginner to power users.
Conduct think-aloud protocol: During the test, we initially ask for consent to take part, and then proceed by giving any suitable instructions. There are relevant ‘pre’ and ‘post’ test questions. During a facilitated test, we may ask open-ended questions, if a test is self-directed the panellist follows the test script supplied, and after they have completed the tasks, there are follow-up questions from the facilitator at the end.
Analyse findings and present insights: Where possible the tests are recorded and the results are analysed. An experienced test facilitator can present useful insights and find common problems, as well as report on any usability related aspects of the findings. Finally, based on the test results, advice can be given for actions to either alter the design or code, in a way that will improve the user experience for people with disabilities.
There are two main different types of tests that we can facilitate.
Usability testing as a part of accessible Agile sprints: In a dev sprint if you have some widgets that you need testing with real users, this can be a great way of running light tests, that focus just on the component(s) in question. This can give you useful validation testing feedback that you can fold into future sprints, and avoid baking in accessibility issues in your design systems.
Usability testing at the end of an accessibility review: For example, if you have completed an accessibility review with InterAccess, which means we have audited your site, app, or service, provided you with fixes that you have then successfully implemented. We can then run a usability test which is designed to validate the good accessibility work that you have already added, and as a way of validating the quality of the user experience.
Our usability service uses well established techniques such working with experienced usability analyst test facilitators, the use of the ‘think aloud’ protocol within the practical limitations of our COVID era society to perform useful remote tests.
Formal usability testing is very much associated with the ‘scientific method’. This is not what InterAccess are primarily interested in. We acknowledge the limits and the contrived nature of the testing dynamic. However, we can also use the remote nature of our testing to everyones advantage. Simply put, as more people are comfortable using Zoom, and other webtools to communicate, at home or from their own environment, this brings a more relaxed dynamic to our tests.
Some potential advantages of remote testing are:
Initiate a high-value, or high-impact discussions about usability in your organisation There is also some evidence to suggest that remote testing is as valuable, and as results orientated, as ‘in the room’ testing, as well as having other advantages as being performed more quickly with less logistical overhead and cost.
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