Tim Fidgeon of Webcredible has put together a useful collection of guidelines to ensure you get the most from your usability testing.
The guidelines cover the following topics:
- Choosing your subjects
- Before the usability testing
- Beginning the usability testing
- Choosing tasks
- How to word tasks
- Presenting tasks
- How to behave during the usability testing
- After the usability testing
With regard to the issue of choosing your subjects and consequently the tasks they will perform, I strongly recommend reading Jared Spool’s excellent article, Interview-Based Tasks: Learning from Leonardo DiCaprio.
I’m a big proponent of moving away from using a default set of common tasks to creating a task list based on the situation and objectives of each user being tested.
This means that participant recruitment becomes that much more important, but the results you get are so much more useful.