Usability stands for the usability of products in product design and also includes software ergonomics in software development. In order to be able to evaluate the usability of products, user tests are carried out with corresponding target groups of the product under investigation. This method is called usability testing. The goal here is to test the usability of products, to provide optimization recommendations for further product development, and to identify user enthusiasm factors with regard to existing solutions.
User surveys in times of Corona
In spring 2020, we initially started with user surveys to better understand our customers and collect new user requirements that had not yet been taken into account. At the same time, the Corona pandemic became a global issue and made it difficult for us to maintain intensive contact with our customers. Nevertheless, for the further development and improvement of our product AES FOR YOU! we were able to define at least some helpful user requirements through our customers’ feedback. This valuable feedback formed the basis for the first draft of the improved application, which had to be evaluated in the next step together with the users by means of usability testing.
The testing phase
First, we took part in the “Usability Test meal” event organized by quäntchen + glück GmbH & Co. KG. Here we had the chance to test our prototype on laymen. Since the customs topic is rather complex in nature, we quickly realized that it only makes sense to test the design with the right target group, namely our customers.
So we asked our users directly and gave them the opportunity to sign up to our specially created virtual tester pool. The requests bore fruit after only a few weeks, despite the pandemic, and we were able to carry out the first tests, not in person, but using remote software.
After the testing, we realized that you can’t know your users well enough. It’s really fun when testers are excited about features that you’ve included in the prototype based on user surveys. This is where we understood that user experience improvement methods really make sense. Customers are happy when things are improved that they had criticized months earlier in user surveys.
Here are a few examples:
To create a new export declaration, users copy operations rather than recreate them. This saves a lot of time and typing. So we placed a simple button in the order overview that allows users to copy operations with one click.
Furthermore, it is important to our users to receive extensive support for plausibility checks. Simpler texts for error messages and colored markings on the relevant fields were mainly mentioned as requirements here. We have already tested the latter and the users were enthusiastic.
The ability to communicate easily and quickly with colleagues via AES FOR YOU! and to write to them directly in messages was also rated extremely positively by the testers.
And what happens now?
Another important insight is that BEX has a lot of user groups and we are far from finished with the development and understanding of our customers: It definitely remains exciting here, as we see it as our challenge to serve all user groups with a user-friendly application and thus provide a great user experience. Since we work in an iterative and agile process, all findings from our usability testing will flow into the further development of our application/s and then it’s: Test again!