The term usability testing is often used rather indiscriminately to refer to any technique used to evaluate a product or system. the term usability testing to refer to a process that employs people as testing participants who are representative of the target audience to evaluate the degree to which a product meets specific usability criteria. This inclusion of representative users eliminates labeling as usability testing such techniques as expert evaluations, walk-throughs, and the like that do not require representative users as part of the process.
Usability testing is a research tool, with its roots in classical experimental methodology. The range of tests one can conduct is considerable, from true classical experiments with large sample sizes and complex test designs to very informal qualitative studies with only a single participant. Each testing approach has different objectives, as well as different time and resource requirements.
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