Steve Krug's Usability Testing Guide

Published on April 13, 2016

I read Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery Made Easy way back in 2010.

Scribbled on page 2:

This book is a good guide to conducting UX testing. Recommended to finish within an hour, then practically follows what it said.

I felt this is one rare book that gave very valuable step-by-step guide, which save readers from making mistakes.

And so here I recap on the lessons learnt.

Lessons Learnt

Start by watching
a demo test session

The “master” plan:
A morning a month,
that’s all we ask

Do-it-yourself usability tests
are NOT quantitative/statistically valid
but are qualitative and so “obvious”
that there are no need for proof

Recruit loosely and grade on a curve
Means find your target audience
but don’t get hung up about it

List the most important tasks
that people need to do with your product
Select a few for the session

Convert tasks
into scenario
with context - “You are…”, “You need to …”
without giving exact clues/steps

Print each scenario on 1 sheet of paper
without numbering the sequence
to give to participant

Preparation Checklist

Read the script to participant
explaining how the test work

Pre-test questions (2min)
to understand them
and get them comfortable talking
and let them know you’re actually listening

Home Page Tour (3min)
figure out what this product is about
without clicking away

The Tasks (35min)
Read out and
give out the printed scenario/tasks

Encourage: to think out loud
as you go along

“What are you thinking/looking at/doing now?”
“Is that what you expected to happen?”
“What would you do if I wasn’t here?”
“How do you think it would work?”
Neutral acknowledgement like “uh huh”, “OK”

Probing (5min)
Ask deeper questions and clarifications
on their actions earlier

Make it a
spectator sport
Because seeing is believing

When fixing problems
try to do the least you can
Tweak, don’t redesign
Take something away

Focus ruthlessly
on only the most serious problems