Still an underrated part of the development cycle
People have been developing software for over twenty years, now, and all the basic metrics and aspects of usability have been discovered and catalogued and incorporated into basic software design, so theres no need to bother with usability testing at this stage in history. Right? (You know what were going to say that).
People are still changing and software is still changing and the capabilities of software are still evolving, and peoples expectations of software are still changing. One new development in software capabilities can change everything about the usability of previous interfaces and designs.
If you are developing software for any end user at all (all novices or all experienced or somewhere in between), the software should be testedoften, fully and by many as many different kinds of users as are going to use the software.
- Have they performed good tests that really test the design and ask for feedback on the facility of the design?
- Solicit customer feedback in as many different ways as you can. Watch software testers closely to find out where they pause and where they get lost. don't wait for them to tell you things that are wrong with the software (or other interface); most people are simply too nice to do so.
- Specify and plan each stage of the software testing and development cycle.
Heres an axiom of software testing that is still ignored by companies twenty years into the age of information: its many, many times cheaper to build better software than to make people learn how to use your software.