One of my favorite ways of knowing if an application or a website is easy to use and user friendly is by giving it to an elder to try it… well, results are usually great, and the details the notice are completely different than those the programmer or ordinary users notice.
For me there is three levels to measure user friendliness every application or website targeting public masses should pass: the baby, the girl, and the elder, in that order.
Each of the three has his own way for dealing with technology, and to ensure the easiness of use of your application or website for all users “which these three user types will definitely be great portion of them” you have to either give your project for them to test, or test it yourself from their viewport.
The baby – trying to break your little toy
Babies generally focus on three angles while using an application: trying all the buttons – trying all the possible situations – and trying to ruin your work.
To get the baby side you just have to simply click all the buttons at the same time, try to get all the possible results, and going back and forth to the same page. Trying to excess all the resources of an application or website is also a thing kids do, and finally, trying to break it… just don’t think to use your app or site the way it meant to be, but use it for everything except for that.
The baby point of view will give you up all the bugs and loopholes your app or website has, and may open up new thinking horizons.
The girl – keep it simple, simple, and more simple
Girls “and I know that sounds sexist, but its up to a point pretty true” seek simplicity and easiness of use… you rarely find a girl ready to click a thousand button to get what she wants, because she wants it directly and simply.
To get the girl’s side it’s really simple, if you couldn’t simple get a girl to test it for you “watch her while she’s testing, getting feedback from her later will be pretty hard” you can simulate her user experience really simply, just click the buttons that are visibly clear and the ones with texts explaining what they do, and nothing more.
The girls point of view will give you hints about the small mistakes in the UI and the over complicated details that aren’t called for… I remember deleting a fully featured side menu from a website I was building just because 10\10 of the girls who tested it didn’t even notice it’s existence.
The elder – I CAN’T HEAR YOU WELL, I CAN’T SEE YOU WELL, AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT DOES THIS BUTTON DO
Well, the elder usually don’t know what they’re doing in this tech ruled world, they do want to use your fancy new tools but they also simply don’t want to learn anything new, and they don’t have any time to try “they do have time but they just don’t want to”, and that’s were the elder and the girls meet roads.
To get the elder view just make someone test your app while he’s late for an appointment and doesn’t have time to try this crab, and check if he used the app the right way… also track all the errors that happened because the buttons are to jammed or small or don’t give up the functions they provide.
The elders point of view gives up the main flaws in your UI and the things that should have got more space to avoid errors.
This is my way to test websites and applications, it have so far proven efficiency in so many situations, and it may help you testing your upcoming product.