This is a review of the online course Usability Testing Boot Camp. This is part of our series of reviews of online UX courses and is the second of Dr Travis’s courses that we have reviewed.
- Course Name: Usability Testing Boot Camp
- Author: Dr David Travis
- Hosted by: udemy
- Length: 46 lectures + quizzes & bonus material (approx 7.5 hours of video content)
- Intended Audience: Web professionals who wish to properly conduct usability testing, UX designers wanting an understanding of testing processes
- What You’ll Learn: A comprehensive start-to-finish understanding of usability testing, beginning with achieving buy-in from management and ending with persuading developers to take action based on your test results. In between you’ll learn the different testing methods and how to analyse the resulting data.
- What You Won’t Learn: Anything to do with user interface design. This course is about testing for usability, not designing for it, and that is a very important distinction to make.
- Assumed Knowledge: An understanding of UX design concepts isn’t crucial but would ensure you get the most out of this course.
- Price at time of review: US $199
If you’ve read Matt’s review of User Experience: The Ultimate Guide to Usability you’ll already be aware of what an engaging educator Dr Travis is, and this course certainly does nothing to tarnish that reputation. It is a well structured, easy to follow series of lectures, interspersed with a number of tests and quizzes designed to ensure that the information is being absorbed and can be applied in different contexts.
This course is not just a well put together study of usability testing, it is a shining example of online education. Short lectures, “Masterclass Interviews”, entertaining anecdotes, funny videos and quick activities are cleverly mixed in such a way that the time flies by and what could otherwise be a somewhat dry subject is bordering on riveting. I think it’s fair to say that I’m a fan!
The course covers the full usability testing process, from using body language nuances while moderating a test to the specifics of the available software tools (and everything in between). Dr Travis borrows heavily from psychology texts to explain the social sciences behind usability. He talks about the theoretical aspects and then conducts and deconstructs an actual test, demonstrating that theory in practice.
Dr. David Travis is the Managing Director of Userfocus, an independent consultancy specialising in user experience. He has worked in the field since 1989 and holds a PhD in Psychology. Dr Travis has published two books and a multitude of scientific papers on usability, and is a popular international guest speaker. This depth of experience is obvious when you hear him talk. He speaks with an air of authority that commands respect, but tempers it well with a sense of humour.
It is clear from very early on in the course that Dr Travis is a gifted and experienced educator as well as an expert in the subject of usability. Add to that his enthusiasm and obvious willingness to support participants after completion of the course (he offers a series of “refresher emails” as well as his personal contact details) and it’s clear that he is a very likeable man.
This course is primarily targeted at people that already have experience in the field of UX design. If you are looking for a job in UX or looking to expand your skill-set then according to Dr Travis, usability testing is a must-have tool. It aims to teach designers and developers of user interfaces how to make future design decisions based on hard data rather than personal opinion or instinct. While no prerequisites are specified, it does seem that an understanding of usability concepts is assumed.
The User Experience
Although this is only the second udemy course that I have taken, I am a big fan of the in–browser experience. The option to download the videos and slides is a useful one, and this particular course takes it one step further with the ability to download all files and slides in one go. I like the note-taking interface but would find it more useful if it were possible to export course-wide notes, rather than lecture by lecture. A small complaint though – overall the interface is slick and intuitive, and the experience is an enjoyable one.
What Makes A Perfect Course?
I was very close to awarding this course a perfect score but one thing held me back and it wasn’t Dr Travis. In my view, some of the Masterclass Interviews let the course down very slightly. The idea certainly has merit. Listening to a variety of people adds an interest factor and keeps your attention honed. The interviewees were varied and well qualified, lending weight to the course. Understandably the video quality can be forgiven due to the unreliability of Skype, but I found the content a bit slow in some cases. One interview was so clearly being read from some sort of auto-cue that I got the giggles. I’m also not a big fan of Mr Bean (who is a polarising figure at the best of times and one that has been overplayed heavily in recent years) so I found the inclusion of of a video excerpt of him to be an unnecessary filler. A small criticism however, as it is very easy to fast forward through that section without affecting the learning outcome.
- Short exercises, formal quizzes and smaller ‘pause the video and make a list’ tests throughout the course offer a variety of ways to make sure that you are keeping up to speed with the learning.
- Lecture files are available for download, which is useful if you want to continue to study offline.
- Questions are answered quickly and carefully.
- The majority of lectures are short, which keeps the viewer on task and focused.
- Slides are varied and interesting
- Content is summarised at several stages throughout the course, which helps to commit the key aspects to memory.
- If you take the course you are automatically eligible for free refresher training (6 emails that keep you thinking about what you’ve learned and make sure you put it into practice).
- The quality of some of the Skype interviews are (understandably) below the standard of the rest of the course and some interviewees appear to be reading from an auto-cue.
- The Mr Bean video felt like a filler and although it was an attempt at bringing humour into the course, it felt like a waste of my time.
- Lectures 45 & 46 are effectively the same discussion (about refresher training).
All in all, Usability Testing Boot Camp is a fantastic course. Dr Travis has a knack of being able to simply explain complex concepts and he has broken down a vast subject into easily digestible chunks. This course offers practical solutions and is full of tips and tricks that would take years to gather if you were to do it yourself. Students are invited to suggest additions to the course and to provide feedback at the end. Those, along with a Certificate of Completion are nice touches that add polish to an already exceptional course. I highly recommend it.
- Content (how useful, up to date, practical, and comprehensive): 9/10
- Delivery (presentation style, pace, clarity, authority): 10/10
- Production (video quality, audio quality, editing): 9/10
- User Interface (reliable infrastructure, usable interface, convenient): 9/10
- Overall rating: 9/10
- Introduction – Why test for usability?
- What’s so special about a usability test?
- Forming a test strategy
- Writing test tasks
- How to moderate a “Thinking Aloud” usability test
- Deconstruct a live usability test
- Remote usability testing
- How to analyse the data from usability tests
- Reporting results
- Summary and wrap-up
Note: This post contains affiliate links, so if you do decide to enrol in the course, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale, to help pay the hosting bills.