Usability is how easy an object is to use. The object can be almost anything, including a machine, tool, process, book, software application or website. Anything that a person can interact with should be usable. In the case of websites and software applications, usability has been defined as the ease at which an average person can use the software or website to achieve specific goals.Usability is comprised of learnability, memorability, efficiency, satisfaction and errors.
Usability Testing is a technique used to see a product by testing is on users. Most people who set up a usability test carefully construct it. In which a person performs a list of tasks that someone who is using the website for the first time is likely to perform. Someone else observes and listens to the person who is performing the tasks while taking notes. Watching someone perform common tasks on a website is a great way to see whether the site is usable because you will immediately be able to see whether they are able to perform the tasks and any difficulties they have while doing so.
There are three types of usability testing:
Explorative: Used early in product development to assess the effectiveness and usability of a preliminary design or prototype, as well as users’ thought processes and conceptual understanding.Assessment: Used midway in product development or as an overall usability test for technology evaluation. Evaluates real-time trials of the technology to determine the satisfaction, effectiveness, and overall usability.Comparative: Compares two or more instructional technology products or designs and distinguishes the strengths and weaknesses of each.(http://usabilitygeek.com/an-introduction-to-website-usability-testing/)
Hallway Testing: Using random people to test the website rather than people who are trained and experienced in testing websites. This method is particularly effective for testing a new website for the first time during development.Remote Usability Testing: Testing the usability of a website using people who are located in several countries and time zones. Sometimes remote testing is performed using video conferencing, while other times the user works separately from the evaluator. Nowadays, there are various software available at a relatively low cost that allow remote usability testing to be carried out even by observers who are not usability experts. Typically, the click locations and streams of the users are automatically recorded and any critical incidents that occurred while they were using the site are also recorded, along with any feedback the user has submitted.(http://usabilitygeek.com/an-introduction-to-website-usability-testing/)