Back to User-Centered Usability Testing

  • Kimmo Tarkkanen
  • Pekka Reijonen
  • Franck Tétard
  • Ville Harkke
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7946)


Usability testing is a widely used evaluation method for product design during and after the development. Conventional usability testing applies short and discrete test tasks and task scenarios that are based on the tasks the product is designed to support. Thus, conventional test task design relies heavily on the representations of the specified context of use and the specified user requirements of the proposed design solution. However, a premature commitment to the specified context, requirements and proposed solutions may limit the scope of usability testing in a manner that hinders its capability to elicit and validate new user requirements, which is one of the objectives of the evaluation phase in the iterative user-centered design process. In this paper, we introduce a user-centered task design approach, which allows test participants to follow their natural work flow and freely express their needs during a test session. The main idea of this open-ended task approach is to break the tight link between the produced design solutions and the tasks used in the usability test and in this way increase the probability that novel user needs can emerge during a test session. Empirical results from a case study are used to depict the approach and its prerequisites, strengths, and limitations are discussed.


Usability testing task design usability evaluation user-centered design requirements elicitation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimmo Tarkkanen
    • 1
  • Pekka Reijonen
    • 1
  • Franck Tétard
    • 2
  • Ville Harkke
    • 1
  1. 1.Information Systems ScienceUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of Informatics and MediaUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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