Improvements in the test interface
Announcements | Design | User Experience

Improvements in the test interface

on / by Paul Veugen

One of our most important focus points is the usability of our own test interface. Participating in a Usabilla test must be simple, fun, and way more exciting than a standard survey. In the past year we’ve released about 15 iterations on our test interface. Each iteration was based on feedback from participants, users, and experts using Usabilla. We’ve just released a small update and we think this update solves the most important usability issues of our test interface.

Problem: Participants don’t have a clue that they can add notes.

Usabilla is primary a quantitative tool. Notes add a qualitative aspect to the tests and are of in many cases of great help to interpret test results.  If you run a test case with for example 250 participants and all those 250 participants add 20 points with notes, your ‘lean & mean’ test is probably no longer ‘lean & mean’. This is the reason why we focus on points as primary response and notes as secondary. Unfortunately in our previous releases we didn’t manage to find a good balance between these two interactions.

The icons below were used in our previous release. Users can click anywhere on the screen to add a point. The ‘plus’ icon could be used to attach a note. Once a user added a comment, the plus changed to a note. Usabilla is currently available in 20 different languages. Maintaining these translations in a fast developing startup is not quite easy. That was one of the reasons why we focused on using icons instead of text in the first place. Unfortunately these icons were not as self explaining as we naïvely assumed (indeed, we should have tested this). And even the introduction movie we added didn’t really help (who watches these movies? ;-)).


Solution: Improved icons and a new introduction movie

Back to the drawing board. We redesigned the icons for points and got rid of Mickey Mouse. Instead of the mysterious ‘+’ (‘plus what?’) and his little more obvious counterpart ‘x’ (‘closing a note‘) we used a little bit more obvious analogies. A trashcan and a post-it. Was it really that hard? :D.


And, as a bonus: our test interface now really works flawlessly on the iPad. The delete and note icons were too small too use with a thick index finger and should be clickable now.

The introduction movie for a test showed the previous icons. We made a new movie, unfortunately only available in English, showing a sample task and the basic interactions. The movie automatically starts after the introduction has been loaded (no sound, so we think in this case that’s ok).


Try it yourself in this demo case.

What do you think?

We think we made a big step forward in usability with this tiny redesign. Our first own tests were promising. But we’re not done yet. We would love to hear your opinion about these changes. Feel free to share your findings and suggestions for improvement. We’re just getting started.

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Article by

Paul Veugen

Founder / CEO @ Usabilla User Experience designer, entrepreneur and metrics junky.

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