User Experience (UX) service

Usability testing

Usability testing is evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users.

What is it?

The primary goal during testing is to identify any usability problems with a product or service.

Typically during a test, participants will try to complete common tasks while observers watch, listen and takes notes.

When to use

Conduct usability testing:

  • early - before any development is undertaken
  • regularly - at key stages as you product or service evolves

Read our case study of using usability testing: IS Helpline UX collaboration

How to

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Our go-to source for usability testing is Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery Made Easy. The book takes you through:

  • when and what you should test
  • who to test and how to recruit
  • picking tasks to test and writing scenarios for them
  • conducting the tests

It’s a relatively short book and doesn’t take more than a few hours to read.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy book information on Steve Krug’s website

Steve Krug’s website also offers a series of helpful downloads, including a test script and recording consent form.

Usability testing downloads on Steve Krug’s website


UX Service training

Get training in usability testing as part of our UX training package.

Usability testing training

Online training

If you’re looking for online training, University of Edinburgh staff (non-visiting) can access Chris Nodder’s Usability testing training on

UX foundations: Usability testing training on

Further reading

Using Media Hopper to conduct usability testing

Need help?

Talk to us