How to run usability tests on dscout
Looking to get a pulse check on a new feature? Or maybe you are looking to send people a prototype and collect feedback over the course of a few weeks? All of this and more variations on usability testing can be done on dscout and this article is all about how.
First, we’ll differentiate between the types of usability testing that can be run on dscout. Then this article will provide guidance on how to run usability testing research on each of dscout’s three tools; Diary, Express and Live. (Note: Recruit is not listed because it is not a data collection tool. However, it can be used to find qualified participants within the dscout pool to invite to a usability test through Diary or Live missions.)
Types of Usability Testing
Traditional usability/prototype testing- This type of usability testing is characterized by scouts who are asked to focus on and report on using an entirely new stimuli or product. An example of traditional usability would be sending scouts a prototype and having them report back on what they like or dislike about using it, what they would change about it and how it feels in their home (or whatever setting they use it).
- This could be done with several different prototypes and on any timeline that best suits the product.
vs In-context usability/observational usability–This type of usability testing is characterized by scouts who are asked to engage in their regular day-to-day activities with the addition of a new process, system or tool. An example of in-context usability would be having scouts go shopping or go to work with the assistance of a new app. This usability study is uniquely easy to run on dscout because scouts are able to report how they are feeling or how they are using the new process anywhere and at any time on their dscout app.
- Additionally, the moments-style activity in Diary missions lends itself to scouts who engage uninterrupted in regular activities and check in each time they do X to reflect on whether or not they used a new site/product/app or if there was anything that could have made their experience of that activity easier or better.
- “Show us every time you use this piece of software at work/in the store.”
Usability Tests By Tool: Diary, Express, Live
First, Diary. Diary is our unmoderated in-depth research tool, offering many options for potential usability testing. Researchers are able to determine; what device (mobile or desktop) they want scouts to report back on, the duration of the study, and the setting and frequency in which they want users to report back on this new thing. To get started constructing a usability test on Diary, first determine these things:
- Diary missions can be run entirely through the dscout app on a mobile phone. This could be useful if you want scouts to walk around while doing an entry or testing out a physical prototype or activity. Another use case could be asking scouts to test mobile apps or mobile-first experiences.
- They can also be run entirely on a desktop if you want to test out a website or online products.
- Or Diary missions can utilize both, with some activities designed for the mobile app and some activities designed for desktop.
- Diary missions have flexibility in timeline, they can be a day long or span over an entire month depending on how long you want users to be interacting with a product.
- The Diary platform also gives you the capability to open activities to scouts on a specific timeline so you can designate how and when you would like scouts to reflect. This would be a manual mission. The alternative is activities open automatically to scouts as they finish the one before it. This is an automatic mission.
Once you make a decision about the timeline and the technology involved you can think about building your mission. That’s where templates come in…
- You should feel empowered to use any of our three Diary mission templates when constructing your usability testing mission. The three templates are:
- Observe Key Moments– useful for in-context usability testing because it is built around a multi-entry activity asking scouts to “Show us every time you do X” to see if the new product/process comes into use in these real life moments.
- Review a Product or Experience- a great set-up for a traditional usability test of a new product.
- Evaluate Task Performance- another great option for traditional usability tests in which scouts will be asked to perform different tasks with the new product/site and report on how easy or difficult it is to use.
Some examples of usability testing projects conducted via Diary include…
- A financial technology company ran a traditional usability test on dscout Diary by instructing scouts to download their new app and screen-record while going through and narrating their reactions.
- A social media company ran an in-context usability testing mission on dscout Diary by following 16 parents and their kids for 11 weeks to track their usage of a new app in their daily lives.
Secondly, Express is our quick pulse check research tool. Usability tests run via Express should contain tasks that participants/scouts can complete in 5 minutes or less. The range of incentives for participating in an Express mission is from 50 cents to $5 so it needs to fit with that level of commitment.
- Express is mainly run on dscout mobile but can be run on desktop if the webpage link to the Express mission is sent directly to participants who open it on desktop via the link.
- The timeline of all Express missions is a 1-time, 1-day commitment for scouts; the length of time they spend on the mission should be no more than 10 minutes.
Some examples of usability testing projects conducted via Express include…
- A wearables company used Express to ask people which colors they should release a new product in.
- A digital marketing and web-design agency used Express to evaluate the new beta on an app before it was released. This quick feedback from scouts helped with a go/no go decision and uncover bugs that needed to be fixed before general release.
- Quick concept testing
- Narrowing down potential paths in the ideation phase of a new product
Finally, Live is dscout’s moderated research tool in which researchers have the ability to talk one-on-one with users, watch them interact with a product in real time, or ask more probing questions in a follow up to a Diary mission. Live is a great option when you are interested in doing a moderated usability test in which you pre-load stimuli into the mission for scouts to view while talking with you.
- We recommend running Live missions on desktop whenever possible because connectivity is overall much stronger on desktops. However, Live mobile has also been used in cases where scouts are exploring a mobile app or prototype for the first time and it is important they do this on their mobile device.
- The timeline for Live missions is the length of the interview. Interviews run on dscout’s Live platform can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on the complexity of tasks you will ask the scout to do while in the session with you.
An example of usability testing conducted via Live is…
- An online shopping service used Live to explore how easy or difficult it was to make returns with their automated system vs. needing to talk to someone in customer service.