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Easy usability testing

Easy usability testing

This is why you should evaluate your content by using usability testing – without using a lot of time and resourses!

Usability testing of your content – why?

  • You learn something new about your users and their needs.
  • Your content improves.
  • Better content can result in fewer questions. For example: Improving the content about Canvas on our websites led to fewer inquiries to IT servicedesk about Canvas.
  • Students use Google to navigate and Google prioritize good content. Students can easier navigate the web pages when the content is good.  
  • Testing is fun, it’s nice to meet students and colleagues and taking a break from your desk is good for your health.
  • Testing like this has low costs and you can immediately improve your content.

Test with 5 persons!

Testing only 5 persons doesn’t cost much and you will easily find your users most common problems. More testing usually doesn’t give benefits worth the cost. Too good to be true? Nielsen and Landauer have researched this (   

Two simple methods

We recommend two simple methods for usability testing: microtesting a text and testing content on our websites by using observation test. Both methods require little equipment and testing 5 persons is enough.  

  • 1 hour to prepare the test
  • 1 hour to complete the test
  • 1 hour to evaluate your findings and improving the content

Microtesting a text

Do you have an important text on a website or wish to send an e-mail to a lot of students or colleagues? Just an hour’s work of usability testing and you can improve your text. Your users often have reflections you haven’t thought of.

You need:

  • The test printed on paper
  • Pens
  • Employee card to identify yourself
  • Gum, tea, chocolate, pens or other as a reward to the test persons
  • If you need bigger rewards like giftcards and so on, please use My orders,


Find 5 persons from the target group for the text. Students and eployees can be found outside your office door. Call external such as applicants or partners who can help you test.

The test can be completed digitally by sending out first page 1 and then page 2 via e-mail or as a post in a Teams group or chat.

Enter the text below and the assignments in a document. Print and bring the test out in the field.

Page 1


Name             Study Program           Year of study          Date:


Do not turn to next page before starting assignment 2.

Text title
Introduction of the text

Assignment 1
Read the title and the introduktion

  • Write down 3–4 questions you expect to be answered in this text.

Assignment 2

  • Turn the page and read the rest og the text.
  • Mark where in the text you get answers to the questions you wrote down.
  • Has the text answered your questions to your satisfaction?
  • Does the text have unnecessary information?

This method is invented by Laura Arlov in Skatteetaten.

Observation text

Give the test persons tasks to perform on their own PC or mobile.
For example:
Can you show me what you do when you need to print but have no more money on the student card?
Can you show me how to find information about exchange in your studies?

Observe how the user behaves, how the structure works and whether the user can solve their task as the website looks today.

This method works best being two persons. One person to give the test person a task and one person to observe. Observation test can also be done digitally by sharing screen in Teams or Zoom.

The person asking the question: Explain that we are testing the website, not the user. Tell the test person that we do not help because the site should work without having to ask anyone. Ask the test person to think aloud so we can learn what works and what does not.

The observer: Feel free to make notes with screenshots in advance, mark what paths you think the test person will take. Your job is to look at what the test person is actually doing, not what is being said. E.g. Does the test person say that this was easy and quick, while it actually took a long time for him or her to solve the task?

Read more

Would you like to read a closer introduction to usability testing? Praktisk brukertesting (in Norwegian) can be borrowed at Universitetsbiblioteket (