Musings

Usability Testing

Week Twelve Blog Post

Usability testing is when a company works alongside a client once they have a product that they believe is ready to be released. Usability testing can give clients the opportunity to make suggestions for the company and the company’s product. Clients can tell the company what works, what they are having difficulty understanding, and what needs to be changed entirely.

In my opinion, usability testing is worth the extra time and money. It is beneficial because by working alongside your clients, you get to understand what they really expect your product to be. This also gives them the opportunity to offer great suggestions. This way, a company can release an excellent product on the first try, instead of releasing a better version months later.

Some companies don’t offer usability testing to their clients. This is because usability testing takes time and costs money. Why spend money when you can have the public make suggestions for free once releasing your product? Companies can also just re-release their product with an update or an expansion after the initial release. This way, the company makes more money and doesn’t waste time. Working alongside clients is also more difficult than re-releasing a product. Clients can set their expectations too high and expect your product to do more than you originally intended. Though these suggestions are helpful for future products, they can also hinder production.

For example: Apple iPhones. Apple comes out with new iPhones frequently. Apple claims that their iPhones are getting better (as do the Apple iPhone users) but are all of these releases necessary? Why can’t they decide on a final design for this iPhone? Apple knows how to make iPhones, so why can’t they work on improving important features, such as battery life? If Apple decided to test their products on iPhone users, they might see what their client base actually wants in a smart phone. However, Apple doesn’t seem to be losing any money by doing this. Their client base is all-too-willing to buy the new Apple iPhone every time it is released.

Though I think it is better for a company to work alongside clients in order to distribute a great product the first time, it is understandable that they sometimes skip doing this. Usability testing costs money. By releasing a poor product quickly, the company will still get feedback, and it will be free. Though it may tarnish their name briefly, if the company makes amends for releasing a poor product, most users will usually accept the new product. The company doesn’t waste any time with usability testing, and they can start making money right away. Although some of these proceeds may have to go into improving the product, no time was wasted on the usability testing. (And time is money.)

In conclusion, personally, if I had a company, I would test my product with my clients. Their input would be important to me. They could give me ideas and help me make a better product without wasting my own time. I could get the product right the first time. However, I understand why companies decide against this. They can get feedback for free and simply release an update to fix any problems. If their client base buys a poor product and a fixed product, the company is making more money, and it doesn’t even seem to tarnish their name.

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