To evaluate the performance and performance of a product in the most effective way possible, it is necessary to recreate an environment as close to the reality in which it will be used. For this, it is essential not only to consider an inclusive and balanced environment between men and women, but also to elaborate and test hypotheses of its intended use, its good interaction and how the product does not reproduce gender stereotypes, it satisfies a need of women who previously did not was being cared for or contributes to the advancement of gender equality.
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The usability test evaluates specific criteria of the product and takes into account the experience of end users. It uses a population sample referring to the desired target user, so the participation of men and women should be considered equally.
In the event that the product or service has been planned to be directed to a particular sex, it is necessary to ensure that this differentiation is essential and is not based on socially assigned roles and stereotypes about what is feminine and what is male.
When segmenting the market, it is advisable to think about the functionality of the product and the need to be satisfied through its use, not about preconceived ideas about behaviors and attitudes that are culturally considered appropriate for women and men, and that may be reproducing gender stereotypes.
This test generates a list of opportunity areas for the product. The list is created from the opinion, interaction and comments of a representative sample of the target users. Inclusion and gender equality are promoted since the sample of users to be recruited must be 50% women and 50% men. Unless, without stereotypes, the product or service is directed to a particular sex, it is necessary to represent both men and women as part of the population.
What do you need to put this tool into practice?
- It is applied after having a final product, a prototype or a mockup of which you want to test the performance.
- To test the prototype in a real environment it is necessary to have 6 people to carry out the usability tests. 3 women and 3 men, unless the target population identified by the company details another proportion.
- The range of users with whom the product will be tested should ideally be between 6 and 10.
- It is recommended to record the interaction with people to later analyze the content, it is necessary to ask for their authorization before doing so.
- It is suggested to work as a team to obtain more complete findings.
- It is highly recommended that the people who make up the team are 50% women and 50% men, and that they have knowledge about gender equality, stereotypes and gender roles.
- El desarrollo completo de esta herramienta se logra en aproximadamente 1 a 4 días.
Steps for implementation
- Create a reference object
If you do not have the final product, create a reference object that makes direct reference to the most notable characteristics of the product to be tested. For physical objects, some important characteristics to represent are usually sizes and volumes, and for digital products, the arrangement of information and the selection of words / copy.
- Redesign prototype
Having a tangible prototype will also help the team to reflect more clearly if the product reproduces any gender stereotype, for example, in the colors, the packaging, the proposal for use, the language or the images used. If so, it is necessary to redesign the prototypes and/or mockups.
Some of the questions the team can ask themselves to reflect on gender stereotypes include the following:
Are you starting from sexist ideas about the needs, expectations and behaviors of women and men?
Are uses of the product being promoted that contribute to reproducing gender stereotypes?
Are colors, language or images traditionally associated with the feminine or masculine being used?
- Define the objective and/or hypotheses
It is recommended to formulate a series of premises regarding the product that the team has in mind and wants to test. At least one hypothesis must be added about the validation of the product from the gender analysis, for example:
The product does not reproduce gender stereotypes.
The product satisfies a need of women that was not being met before.
The product contributes to the advancement of gender equality.
- Recruit users
For this step it is necessary to maintain the actual proportion of the desired audience. For recruitment it is recommended to avoid people close to or closely related to the project as this can affect impartiality.
Tip: It is often easier to recruit people when they are given something of value in return, discounts, exclusive offers or gift cards.
- Design the layout or the guide to be taken during the usability test
The team must determine what questions and actions to ask users and what information they want to obtain from each of them. These tasks and questions will be the most important instrument to validate both the correct use and interaction of the product and to verify if gender stereotypes are not being reproduced. It is advisable to divide the test into tasks and evaluate each one separately.
The structure of the guide is made up of:
1) A brief introduction, in which the dynamics are explained to the participants, they are made to enter into confidence and feel welcome and welcome.
2) The body of the guide is the one that encompasses the tasks and questions to be asked.
3) A conclusion or closing in which people are thanked for their participation.
This layout should be designed to last no more than 1 hour, as users start to lose their attention. It is advisable to add times to the guide and practice it before to check that everything goes well.
- Execute the test
It is important to have a solid guide, but it is advisable to be flexible and adapt it to each person, that is why it is relevant to know the guide and not read it, this will allow us to be flexible and add, remove or extend the parts of the test in a natural way .
There are a number of guidelines that must be adhered to when running usability tests:
1) Record voice and video for later analysis. For this, it is necessary to first request the authorization of the users.
2) Avoid correcting people during the process. It is tempting to want to correct or guide them through tasks, but you just want to try a natural interaction.
3) Asking the person to share their thoughts out loud will help you get more information.
4) Remind him that there are no right and wrong actions and that he or she will not be tested.
5) Ask for honesty and clarify that the comments will not be taken badly.
6) Avoid reading the guide too systematically. This can create a much less free dynamic and therefore the results will be more limited.
7) Try to be in a controlled environment free of distractions.
- Analyze the results
Analyze the results disaggregated by sex and according to the metrics established by the team. The analysis can be carried out individually or in a group, at this stage the videos are re-watched and analyzed in detail. Some metric references are:
1) Completion rate: the requested task was completed successfully or not.
2) Number of errors: the number of times the person made errors in each task and why is evaluated.
3) Completion time: the time it took the user to perform each task is evaluated and analyzes if it took much more or less than expected and why.
4) Net Promoter Score: asks on a scale of 1 to 10 if the person would recommend the product to someone else.
- Reach conclusions
Reach conclusions on the initial hypotheses as a group, verify if these are validated or invalidated according to the results obtained with the test. Analyze if any difference was identified between women’s and men’s behavior or use of the product and document the findings.