Forrester Research has just published two studies on usability testing in their new series, “Usability Testing for Managers.” I participated as one of the experts in the field Forrester surveyed for the studies. These studies are usually not publicly distributed, but you can view them here (shhh!!!). Click on the report title below to view the report. Usability testing is a critical aspect of the software usability process. How do you know if you have met the business stakeholder’s and user’s usability goals, if you don’t conduct usability evaluations iteratively during design and development? This applies to web usability projects as well as application design and development.
The first study is Where To Get Help With Usability Testing: Usability Vendors Report On Experience, Capabilities, And Location. Forrester states:
Our survey of usability vendors uncovered 47 firms that have significant experience conducting usability lab tests. In addition to usability expertise, many of the vendors also have capabilities in user research, user recruitment, and design. Companies in search of outside usability know-how can seek help from these specialists, which are scattered throughout the US.
The second report is titled, Budgeting For Usability Lab Tests: Usability Vendors Report On Lab Testing Costs And Timelines. The executive summary states:
Forrester surveyed vendors who conduct usability lab tests of digital and physical products like Web sites, desktop software applications, and mobile phones. We found that, on average, these vendors tested 13 users per engagement, conducted tests over the course of two to three weeks, and charged $20,000 or less for this work. But project size and cost varied widely, from small tests (five users for less than $5,000) to massive engagements (120 users for more than $100,000). What will change in 2007? Usability vendors expect increases in both demand and cost.