The readings on usability peaked my interest in user-centered design again. I took a course in information architecture last fall and Jakob Nielsen was a familiar name and reference throughout the course. Users are the core to many design projects. Most of these projects are designed for users, of some sort. Websites, online courses, and trainings have “users” and their needs must be considered during every step of design and development.
Does it surprise most people that testing with five users is acceptable, according to Nielsen? I was skeptical when I first read this article 9 months ago. Our team, consisting of 4 students, used this usability test model. Each of us tested 5 users on a website redesign and found that the users do, in fact, “use” the website in a similar way. They navigate in similar ways and the observations in general, are very similar.
The article does mention that if two distinct groups will use the same site, additional users should be tested. Children and parent users of the same site requires two separate test groups with around 5 users in each group.
Have you heard of card sorting? Nielsen has some good card sorting information on his website.