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examples of usability test questions

10 Examples of Usability Test Questions For Software

Use these examples of usability test questions to help you understand more your software.

Usability questions might seem easy to make and ask.

But one must have in mind that users answering them are diverse.

Not everybody interprets the same question in the same way.

That’s why you need to pay attention when writing them and be careful about the specific vocabulary that you use.

Usability questions are asked for several reason.

First is they help you gather unbiased opinions for your software.

Second, they help you to understand how much users feel and know your product.

Lastly, they inform you of any issues they encounter on your software. 

There are also some other things you need to consider.

Which people you intend to ask?

What answers you are expecting?

As you can see, creating and thinking about these takes time.

We’ll give you an insight on best examples of usability test questions to ask consumers.

They are a must-have in every usability test regarding software.

The most common way of forming these tests is to first divide them into four categories/ groups. 

  1. Screening questions, 
  2. Pre-test questions, 
  3. In-test questions, 
  4. Post-test questions. 

Further, the questions you can ask split into two major categories: quantitative questions and qualitative questions.

Screening Questions

This first stage of the usability test is going to determine who is the person doing it.

Age, education, income level, profession are some of the screening questions.

There are also some general questions about the level of familiarity they have with your or products similar to yours. 

Since inquiring people’s exact demographic isn’t so hard, we’ll focus on the question that directly deals with your product. 

1. How often do you use [the software]?

Whatever objective you might have, this question will produce a lot of necessary information.

It tells you if you’re dealing with someone new to the subject matter or if he/she is an experienced user. 

You can approach all the other answers coming after it differently when you know this.

Criticism from an experienced user bears more weight since he has been with a product for a more extended period.

The same criticism from a new user might just mean he/she just didn’t know how to use a particular feature.

Although he/she can give useful info on how the onboarding process looks like. 

Such question further helps you choose a direction and the array of items that you want to expose the user to.

This is because experienced people can answer to more in-depth inquiries.

In contrast, those who recently joined can tell you how quickly one can master your software.  

Moreover, you’re learning about your user’s daily habits, which can be beneficial information for some future projects.

In the end, getting results from this branch of questions will help you select whom you want to go on asking.

Pre-test Questions

In this section, you’re also investigating their knowledge and experience.

You can get their behavior, attitudes, and general psychographic data from their answers. 

As the screening section, this one also functions as an elimination round.

It is where additional people who don’t fit your criteria for testing will be removed.

This will help you to get the intended target audience to take the test itself. 

2. Why did you choose [the software]?

First of all, answering this question means that a certain rapport between the software and the user already exists.

This question will help you discover your differences from competition and advantages over them.

It asks directly for the motive of their choice to consume your product. 

Your perspective on what is most important in your software doesn’t necessarily reflect those of your users.

Additionally, data collected from responses to this question can and should be used in advertising.

For example, if users praised how natural your product is to use, you should emphasize that in your ads in the future.  

Having this information is also convenient for brand building, further establishing your company, and discovering how valuable your software is.

If you evaluate that people perceive you and your company as an elite one, you can charge for your services at premium prices.

Last but not least, this question can answer the real hooks from your software that managed to get them to use it in the first place.

3. Which device(s) do you usually use for [the software]?

This may seem redundant, but rest assured it’s not. 

Nowadays, most users are connected to the internet via smartphones, but that wasn’t always the case.

Home computers and laptops were the first ones to be used to connect to the internet.

Today things like fridges and watches connect to it too. 

The importance of following what devices people use to stay connected is essential for many purposes.

It is mainly so you can know to which devices you need to adapt your software and to which users to advertise it. 

The transition from mainly being online on a computer to a smartphone has happened at one point.

New attractive devices that utilize the benefits of the internet, like smart glasses, can appear on the market any day.

This also means it’s valuable to keep up with popular culture trends that regularly shape the way of life for many people and technology.

4. Which features do you use the most?

One of the main reasons is being the detection of the level of knowledge about the brand.

Identifying what users like and use and what they avoid helps determine which features you want to develop even further.

It also helps you determine which ones you want to keep the same or even shut down.

Also have in mind that data from these answers push your software in a completely new direction. 

This should have a follow-up question so you don’t miss out on any of the impressions people might have when using your product. 

You can add a quantitative question here to see how much they like their favorite feature and if they think there’s room for improvement. 

The real level of usability of every one of your features will either come as a confirmation of your goals or as a total surprise.

This will show you that features in which you had the most time invested doesn’t do that much for the end-user.

On the other hand, some features that you might think are obsolete might prove to still be up to date.

There is no way of knowing what you can discover by asking this question, and that’s where its value lies. 

In-test Questions

This is the actual core of your testing and information gained from this part is vital for the whole process.

It looks into the most valuable set of opinions for you and your product. 

What you want to achieve is create a sort of conversation that puts the user doing the test at ease and in a casual mood.

Relaxed and laid back people tend to give more honest answers, which is the central goal of usability testing.

They need to see the test as something friendly and understand that they are not the ones being tested, the product is. 

5. How easy is it to use the interface and what are your thoughts on it?

This question, as you can see, contains two, and perfectly fits in the casual conversation that doesn’t stress the consumer.

A lot of people are visual learners, actually 65% of them, so having a software that’s straightforward to use.

With an attractive interface, it is going to keep users on it for a more extended period. 

The follow-up question about explaining what they see and use gives users the freedom to tell you if something needs improvement.

Following up on unusual user behavior can be done with sub-questions that would seek to get the explanation of the action. 

Complex flows or processes that require one to use multiple steps can often have issues that need determining and addressing. 

You ask this to establish the level of seriousness of any potential problems they might come across.

Problems can be categorized into three groups ranging from severe and critical to minor ones. 

Minor problems can be just annoying defects.

Critical ones will represent a real worry-like impediment that prevents users from completing their tasks. 

6. I noticed you did… Can you tell me why?

With this particular inquiry, you’re prompting the users that have given a surprising answer.

It means that his/her answer differs from others a lot, or one that you didn’t expect of getting. 

Asking them to clarify their response leaves no dilemma about what they’ve intended to say.

What this question does is getting inside the thought process behind the people’s actions.

Post-test Questions

This is the final stage at which you can ask for some additional clarifications.

You can also gather feedback on their impressions, and get the overall understanding of their experience. 

It is okay to stick to open-ended questions, but the best thing would be to have a mix of “yes or no” questions and open ones. 

“Yes or no” questions would spare you the time of going through abundant answers.

7. If you could change one thing about [the software], what would it be? Why?

Assuming that user solving the test is thinking outside the box, they can give some beneficial advice about something you or anyone in your company hasn’t thought of. 

It can even bring the creativity of test solvers to the surface and carry some good ideas for free.

These ideas they can be useful in validating your prototype if your product is unfinished.

Users can add to whether they see the purpose, whether they understand what it is that was your idea.

In general, users can validate the whole concept you had in mind before you start with further development of it. 

All in all, it is a great question that keeps your “ear to the ground” for new trends and changes.

As we all know, in the digital era, things change faster than they did before, so adaptability is the key to a successful software product. 

8. Is there any reason that’ll make you stop using [the software]?

Sometimes even the smallest features that don’t work or aren’t present can cause a person to give up entirely on a specific software

Loyalty to the brand is tested here as well, since those who are long time users would be reluctant to give up on it.

Testing where people’s bottom line is helps you to recognize which aspects of your software need the most significant attention and protection from errors. 

Asking the exact opposite like “why would you continue using this software” will be useful as well in pinpointing what is that one thing that people love about your product that others don’t have. 

Answer to this can also tell you what should be the last thing you should consider when making updates and adjustments to your software.

Mostly, you want to see if you meet people’s expectations if everything is working as intended and if something vital is missing.

Dozens of tiny errors can add up and jeopardize your software’s trustworthiness and professionalism, which is why the mentioned questions carry such importance. 

9. How likely are you to refer [the software]?

Referrals are essential for the growth of the user base; therefore, asking this is necessary. 

Combining the negative answer to this question with one of the previous objections or criticisms in the test shows you what draws people away from recommending your product to their friends. 

Referrals were always valuable, but they are priceless, especially now when markets are flooded with thousands and thousands of similar products.

A piece of advice about a specific software from a friend or a family member you trust will likely push many people to try it since nobody wants to spend dozens of hours trying out hundreds of products until they find the right one. 

Finally, that’s why influencers are so relevant. 

Having a satisfied customer that will spread the word of your excellent software is a valuable piece of information that carries great importance in the overall process of testing. 

10. Questions That Shouldn’t Be Asked

As useful as nine previous questions are, some can throw the whole test off the tracks when asked, even if it was a well-made test. 

We’ll note here some of the questions that should be avoided throughout all of the testing phases.

Do you like the newer version of the software better?

This is already implying that the new version is better and makes the user skip praising some features of the old one if he/she liked them.

Is the new version of our software saving you a lot of time?

This question suggests that it should save them a lot of time and puts them in an awkward position where they’ll be too shy to admit that they took more time to finish their designated tasks.

Do you use [a particular] feature? 

Besides being a simple yes or no question that doesn’t give more information than that, it also eliminates people who don’t use the feature mentioned but uses a lot of others and can still provide useful insights.

Do you like [a particular thing about the software]? 

This is another question that doesn’t tell you what specifically they like and don’t like and is mistakenly often used, so we decided to draw attention to it. 

A simple yes or no isn’t giving you enough of the information about the element being tested. Instead, you end up with a momentary impression.

When answering an open question, the user is bound to give deeper reasons and not just flat feelings.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

In contrast to the previous questions, this one is too open since it doesn’t give the person answering it any guidelines.

It can end up in writing an incredibly long answer mentioning remarks unrelated to the test.

More often than not, they’ll share random thoughts without any specifics.  

Conclusively, when you have at the ready all the information from all stages of testing, you can create a user persona of your consumers.

This quite literally depicts a fictional image of your consumer just through the results of one or a couple of tests. 

Final Thoughts

When everything said is summed up, it comes down to a couple of crucial facts.

If you’re writing these kinds of tests, use these examples of usability test questions to make sure to have clear and specific questions.

At the same time, directly relate to your test objectives so you can have test results that are relevant and actionable.

Avoid asking leading questions, since they won’t give you an honest answer.

Instead make open-ended questions that allow users to freely express themselves.

In the end, the more usability tests for the software you run, the more you’ll get the hang of things and improve tests that you make in the future.

The whole testing process intends to get the accurate results that’ll help you in your future decisions regarding your software. 

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