Palo Alto, CA
Real-World Usability Testing
DYMO Endicia provides customizable, easy-to-use and affordable shipping and mailing software solutions. With more than 25 years of postal industry experience, DYMO Endicia is the leading provider of postage technology solutions with more than $8 billion in postage printed. For more information on DYMO Endicia products and services, visit www.dymoendicia.com or follow them on Twitter @DYMO_Endicia.
In late 2011, after extensive research and customer feedback, the company decided to create an online version of their popular desktop postage program. The result: DYMO Stamps Online. To ensure this new application would earn high marks for ease-of-use, Product Manager Sheila Hara decided to leverage uTest for real-world usability testing.
“Based on customer surveys and other data points, it was clear that our users were very interested in an online version of our application,” said Sheila. “From there, it was our responsibility to make sure we offered them a clean user experience. uTest definitely helped us accomplish that goal.”
This brief case study will highlight how DYMO Endicia leveraged the crowd to test the intuitiveness of their latest online application. Along the way, we’ll explore the role of the uTest project management team and usability experts; the quality of feedback and other aspects of the uTest experience.
Another Set of Eyes: The Benefits of Usability Testing
Of course, DYMO Endicia has an experienced in-house QA team focused on functional testing, bug tracking and other issues. However, Sheila wanted an outside set of eyes to test for usability – something that can be a challenge for teams accustomed to working with the same application over a long period of time. With usability experts around the globe, uTest proved to be the perfect fit in terms of expertise and budget.
“This was a new application for us, so we definitely wanted an outside set of eyes,” she said. “We wanted an objective third party to tell us whether it was easy, whether it was difficult, whether it was confusing, where we went wrong because we wanted it to be simple. We wanted to see if it was easy to use or if it was just in our heads.”
Working with a dedicated uTest Project Manager and a Usability Expert from the uTest community, Sheila and her team received the valuable feedback they were looking for, in several areas of the application.
"The user feedback was great because it showed us that we were headed in the right direction. With few minor changes (thanks to the usability study) we might have a simple online mailing solution for everyday users. The uTest team gave us a lot of constructive feedback – both good and bad – which was exactly what we needed to hear. I was worried that our testers would hold back on the negative stuff, but they presented it in a very professional manner. I was very impressed."
-- Sheila Hara, Product Manger, DYMO Endicia
Working With uTest
Sheila credits her uTest Project Manager and Usability Expert as key components in ensuring the project met DYMO Endicia’s expectations. They finally settled on a method of working with a test team, but reserving the “nitty-gritty” tasks for the expert.
“There was a lot of back and forth, but we all had the same expectations as to what made a successful test cycle,” said Sheila. “The great thing about our Project Manager and Usability Expert was that they were very flexible, they didn’t have any hesitation in setting the right expectations.”
There was still one more obstacle to overcome to make the test a success. DYMO Endicia wanted to ensure their app would be easy for new users who have never used an online postage program. To do a thorough analysis, this meant testing two printing options: laser printers and thermal printers.
Testing with laser printers was easy to accommodate, but finding someone with a DYMO printer who was completely new to postage printing (DYMO printers are also widely used for address label printing) was more of a challenge, but Sheila worked with her Project Manager to find uTesters who were willing to go the extra mile.
“This (task) was not something we would usually do,” said Sheila. “But our Project Manager made sure that things went smoothly. She was a great help.”
Following the completion of their test, DYMO Endicia collected and analyzed real-world usability feedback from testers around the United States. Based on the insight they gained from their usability test cycle, Sheila expects uTest to play an important role with the company’s future testing efforts.
“I would absolutely recommend uTest,” said Sheila. “In the future, we’ll be looking at functional testing as well as usability testing. Those are the main two areas for us.”