Field User Testing

What Field User Testing Is

Field user testing is usability testing done in the actual working (using) environment of users. Because of the proximity of users and evaluators, it usually involves direct observation of users.

When Field User Testing Takes Place

It is usually done in Phase 4 (Production and Operation) of the product development life cycle.

How Field User Testing is Accomplished

Field user testing requires primarily the same steps as lab user testing except that, because users and evaluators are in the same room, users are interviewed about their actions and their reactions to the software or site being evaluated, rather than observed from behind a one-way mirror. The steps are:

  • Conducting a walkthrough evaluation of the product or site being evaluated.
  • Developing a Task Scenario.
  • Evaluators directly observing and interviewing users as they attempt to execute the tasks in the Task Scenario.
  • Organizing, analyzing, and interpreting the data and feedback.
  • Presenting the results.

NOTE: In academic environments, lab and field user testing can:

  • Provide difficult-to-deny evidence of the need for instructional change.
  • Require faculty to clearly articulate/communicate what they want students to do, that is, to develop well-defined task scenarios.

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