[thelist] How long is a usability piece of string?

Herzog, Ari Ari_Herzog at Instron.com
Tue Jan 23 09:27:31 CST 2001

I would say it depends on what you are testing.

For instance, right now, I am testing the process a user would go through
to subscribe and unsusbscribe to an e-newsletter via email. Since I have
over 7500 
customers on my invite list, I am mimicing that list with internal employees
the world who have different email clients and different systems. So, I sent
a prototype email about it all to 15 internal employees.

But, it all depends what your target is, and what the material is.


-----Original Message-----
From: Shirley Kaiser, SKDesigns [mailto:skaiser at skdesigns.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2001 8:54 AM
To: thelist at lists.evolt.org
Subject: Re: [thelist] How long is a usability piece of string?


Jakob Nielsen, a usability expert (although controversial for his strong 
opinions!) says you can do fine with 5 people for user testing. There's an 
article about it at his site at http://www.useit.com.

Personally, I try to get as many people as possible, usually at least 5-10 
or so, depending on how lucky I get for people to do this. I also try to 
get people of varied levels of experience using the Internet to attempt to 
get a good cross-section. If it's a specific target, then I tend to tune in 
closer to the type of target model.

If we discover bumps to adjust, then I do another round after I've changed 
things, too, of course.

I'll be curious to hear what others do. What do you think is reasonable?

Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A.
SKDesigns  mailto:skaiser at skdesigns.com
Website Development  http://www.skdesigns.com/
Pianist, Composer  http://www.shirleykaiser.com/

At 05:37 AM 01/23/2001, you wrote:

>Here's question for you:
>How many person/days would you expect a credible usability
>workstream to take for a reasonably large site (would typically
>include both product and non-product info, and shopping)?

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