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Feature Inspection

In a Feature Inspection, a task or is supplied to the test participant, and their use of software features to complete these tasks is observed. Each feature is evaluated for its learnability, ease of use, necessity, and findability. Test participants can be volunteer users from your target demographic, or they can be members of your product's documentation team. This second approach allows you to know, thanks to their documentation, which processes need some sort of streamlining.

Category:
Description

Schedule Time & Gather Materials

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Schedule Time:

  • Time per Session: 2 Days – 1 Week
  • Time for Analysis: Varies depending on number of sessions or responses
Gather Materials

Gather Materials:

  • A testable, feature-complete version of your product

Carry Out This Method

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Step One

Write test scenarios to supply to your participants. These should be common use cases for your product.

Step Two

Recruit participants, or use members of your product’s documentation team.

  • External participants will give feedback that is more accurate to how users experience the product, but recruiting them requires funds and time.
  • Your documentation team will likely have some exposure to the product already, so they may not provide perfect feedback. However, if the team finds the completion of a task difficult to describe, the features involved will require streamlining.

Step Three

Contact your participants with their test scenario. Ask them to use your product to accomplish the assigned task, and document each step they take.

Step Four

Ask them to include video or screen captures if possible.

Step Five

Make sure you understand the following about each feature the user tries to use:

  • Whether or not it was easy to locate.
  • What exactly the user expected.
  • If the feature was clearly marked.

If you do not feel you know these things from a user’s response, ask them – even for features that did not help the user complete their task.

Step Six

Give your users between 48 hours and 5 days to submit their responses, depending on your project deadlines.

Step Seven

Collect a list of common process snags and pain points. Present this to the design team so features can be optimized or added.
 

Try These Tips

  • This test should be done as early as possible so time is not wasted building ineffective features. You can test using a paper prototype if needed.
  • Use whatever test participants you can. An imperfect usability test is better than no test at all.
  • A late usability test is also better than none. If you need to perform this test on a nearly-finished product, do so.

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