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What can you learn from a usability test?

Proposal No: 2636

Bios & Handouts


  • Whitney Quesenbery, Center for Civic Design

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Length of Session (in hours): 1-hrFormat: Lecture Expertise Level: All Levels Type of session: Not provided

Summary of Session

A deep dive into usability testing and the "recipe" for the questions this technique can answer and how to plan one that gives useful results. With a focus on informal testing during the design process, learn how to make it fast, cheap AND good.


Usability testing can give you rapid results when you need them: while you are designing. The best way to understand your audience is to see real people doing real tasks, in their own way. Whether you have a question about how a new feature or design idea works for users, or want to understand how diverse people solve problems, usability testing can help you get the answers early (and save time later). Usability does not have to be expensive, require hundreds of participants, or take weeks out of your project schedule. This session will introduce the elements of planning a usability test so you can build your own recipe to get the answers you need. We’ll also spend some time looking at how to include people with disabilities in your research, and how to adapt “classic” techniques to work with them more effectively.


  1. What you can learn from a usability test
  2. Ways to plan a usability test to get qualitative or quantitative answers
  3. How to adapt usability test methods to work effectively with people with disabilities

Speaker Bio(s)

Whitney Quesenbery

Whitney Quesenbery brings her expertise in user research, plain language, accessibility and usability to her work in civic design. As co-director of the Center for Civic Design, he has worked on effective voter information and design for the Future of California Elections (FOCE) , the Field Guides for Ensuring Voter Intent, the Anywhere Ballot, the Accessible Voting Technology Initiative, and was part of the EAC advisory committee creating the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG 2005). She is the author of three UX book: A Web for Everyone: Designing Accessible User Experiences, Global UX: Design and research in a connected world, and Storytelling for UX


What can you learn from a usability test