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6 minute read

What is usability testing and how can it help you create better digital products?

Usability testing allows you to evaluate a digital product’s effectiveness and ease of use. 

Here, we explain what usability testing is and how it can help those within healthcare and pharma to create better digital products.

User research usability testing
by Graphite Digital
24 April 23
  • Usability
  • Digital Product

As digital technologies continue to transform the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, it has become increasingly important for professionals working in these fields to create digital products that are both effective and user-friendly.

One of the most important tools in achieving this goal is usability testing. In this article, we will explore what usability testing is and how it can help you create better digital products.

What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a process that involves evaluating a digital product's effectiveness and ease of use.

It focuses on how easily a customer can interact with your digital product and complete the task they set out to achieve. By observing users as they interact with your product, you can identify any usability issues that they encounter.

You’ll gain understanding, clarity and confidence to enable you to design a better digital experience for your patients, HCPs or customers.

Usability testing can be exploratory in nature, using qualitative methods to uncover the ‘why’ behind what you observe when users interact with your product or service. It can also be evaluative in nature, using quantitative methods to measure performance against predefined metrics such as time-on-task, bounce rate, number of clicks in backward navigation, etc.

Read more about usability testing

How will usability testing help you?

When users are able to easily navigate and use a product, they are more likely to have a positive experience with it. This, in turn, can lead to greater engagement with the product and improved outcomes for the patient or HCP.

If you’re experiencing low engagement with your digital products and services, usability testing will help provide insight into where there is room for improvement. By observing first-hand how your users interact with your digital products and seeing what they struggle with or excel at, you’ll be able to make changes to improve the customer experience.

Another important benefit of usability testing is that it can help to increase product adoption rates. When a product is easy to use, users are more likely to adopt it and incorporate it into their daily routines. This can help to improve customer outcomes and drive business success.

As usability testing is carried out by real-life users, they can uncover issues and opportunities that others who are more familiar with your site or product, such as your internal teams, may be unable to. You’ll be able to identify quick wins for instant impact, as well as larger-scale changes or ideas for how to optimise your digital product in the future.

Usability testing can also help to reduce development costs. By identifying usability issues early in the development process, teams can address these issues before you commit to investing in the full product build. This can help to reduce the amount of time and resources that are required to fix problems after the product has been launched.

What’s the process?

So, how can you conduct usability testing for your digital products in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors? There are several key steps that you can take:

  • Understanding: Before we begin the usability testing, we’ll work with you to build understanding of your goals and set clearly defined research objectives. What do you want to achieve through the testing? What are the key issues to address? We’ll also build understanding of the wider context of your digital product and target audiences.

  • Planning: Our clinical UX researchers will plan out the step-by-step process for each usability testing session. These will simulate real-world scenarios that users are likely to encounter when using your product. We can also create white-labelled versions of your digital products here if required, allowing participants to take part in the sessions without preconceived expectations or bias.

  • Recruitment: The next step is to recruit participants for your testing. It's important to recruit participants who are representative of your target audience. We’ll work with you to source appropriate participants from your target user groups.

  • Testing: The next step is to conduct testing. This typically involves observing participants as they interact with your product and identifying any usability issues that they encounter. Our UX researchers will facilitate the testing sessions, either virtually or in person., using specialist software and techniques.

  • Reporting: Analysed findings are presented back to you as a prioritised list of actionable improvements and recommendations to implement across your digital product or service, and a comprehensive written report will be provided. This may involve identifying common usability issues, prioritising these issues, and developing solutions to address them.

Example use cases

  1. HCP portal onboarding: You’ve invested in creating an HCP portal that hosts valuable content and information, but the numbers of people successfully signing up for access are low. Conducting usability testing can help you uncover issues with the registration process and onboarding journey that are leading to HCPs dropping out of the process. You’ll identify the specific pain points and opportunities for improvement, which can then be implemented with design and development.

  2. Consumer healthcare app: You’re a private healthcare provider and have a successful customer-facing app which provides the ‘digital front door’ to the range of healthcare services you offer. You want to launch a new design for the app homepage to improve engagement with underutilised features and services. Conducting usability testing will help you validate new design concepts and ensure that they resonate with customers in the way you’d hoped, before you instruct your dev team to spend the next 6 weeks developing the new concept.

  3. Patient support tool: You’re responsible for a digital patient support tool aimed at improving treatment adherence for those with a rare disease. The engagement with the tool is low amongst patients. Usability testing reveals issues with navigation and structure that are creating confusing, non-logical user journeys for patients. These UX issues can then be addressed and communicated back to patients when actioned, demonstrating your commitment to continuous improvement.

Final thoughts

Usability testing is an essential tool for creating better digital products. By conducting testing, you can improve customer satisfaction, reduce development costs, and increase product adoption rates.

To get started with usability testing, be sure to define your objectives, recruit representative participants, develop test scenarios, conduct testing, and analyse your results. With these steps in place, you can create digital products that are both effective and user-friendly.

If you’re looking for an experienced partner to support you in conducting usability testing with patients or HCPs, get in touch. 

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