Formative Usability Testing
Formative Usability Testing is predominately carried out in the early stages of product development to help form the final design of the product. Formative Usability Testing answers questions that may arise about the design of the product; such as why something is not working and how it can be amended.
Formative Testing is essential as it allows us, as researchers, to observe and understand the thought processes of the participants, which will in turn lead to their actions. In Formative Tests, the data recorded is predominately qualitative as the participant’s feedback and opinions are noted. The participants’ thought processes and chain of actions are observed and analysed during the test session through the Observer, so that questions may be asked at the end if a particular action was carried out that required clarification.
It is important to note that Formative Testing is usually to improve the design of the product/device and help any development specifications. When generating results, they tend to be more informal than in Summative Testing.