What are Usability Assessments and Qualitative Assessments?

Usability assessments focus on how well users can learn and use a product to achieve their goals. Other qualitative assessments may be used to tell a story about the user or demonstrate key themes such as detailed descriptions of people, events, situations, interaction and observed behaviors.

These assessments are helpful for diagnosing the state of a product, validating the design of a product or understanding where resources should be spent when improving a product.

MyTBItile

MyTBI

Visual Storytelling

College of Medicine Research Information Technology created data visualizations to communicate the story of a patient with a traumatic brain injury. Testing with physicians revealed a clear preference for one of the three design possibilities.

ACHIEVEtile

ACHIEVE

Key Performance Parameters

Using success criteria as defined early in the project, we designed, tested and analyzed a test for a mobile health system.

Learn more about ACHIEVE

PROMPTtile

PROMPT

Understanding what someone else sees 

PROMPT is a patient-reported outcome data collection tool. By testing key tasks with researchers who configure surveys and the patients who would take surveys, we identified a vision for the next version of PROMPT.

How do usability assessments and qualitative assessments improve research?

Investing in usability and qualitative assessments allows the design and research team to understand, validate and create positive user experiences for the people that we are engaging with. Providing a great user experience removes barriers to utilization, prevents attrition and facilitates data collection.

Purpose

Usability
assessment

Watch people use a system to discover its shortcomings

Qualitative assessment

Interview users in-depth to understand their feelings and goals

Heuristic
evaluation

Evaluate a system against usability best practices

RIT's approach

Service71

Establish testing criteria and goals

Experts from College of Medicine Research Information Technology meet with researchers to learn about their aims for their project. By understanding the research goals, RIT will be able to identify key tasks and questions when talking with users.

Service72

Create assessment

RIT designs assessments that target key tasks in a system, encouraging participants to share their thoughts as they learn how the system works. As representative users complete the tasks, patterns emerge that speak to the system's utility, usability and desirability, informing focused redesign efforts.

Service73

Implement test plan

RIT has met with users both in-person and remotely, testing on computers, tablets and phones. We meet users where they are, and record the conversation in order to review what happened in more detail.

Service74

Analyze findings and compose report

After conducting an assessment, RIT summarizes their findings for key stakeholders. We also translate findings into action items and specifications documents for development teams, ensuring that insights from the user-centered design processes are carried through deployment.

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