Software testing is any activity aimed at evaluating an attribute or capability of a program or system and determining that it meets its required results. In this note, the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies can run usability tests to determine the ease with which the user interfaces of all online courses and academic web sites being developed can be used. We will partner with faculty to design and develop online learning environments that are user-friendly in order to contribute in the success of our students.


Usability testing also reveals whether our students feel comfortable with our online learning environments or Web site according to different parameters - the flow, navigation and layout, speed and content - especially in comparison to prior or similar applications.

Usability Testing tests the following features of the online learning environment:

  • How easy it is to use.
  • How easy it is to learn.
  • How convenient is to the end user (student).


Usability testing includes the following five components:

  1. Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
  2. Efficiency: How fast can experienced users accomplish tasks?
  3. Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, does the user remember enough to use it effectively the next time, or does the user have to start over again learning everything?
  4. Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors and how easily can they recover from the errors?
  5. Satisfaction: How much does the user like using the system?

Benefits of usability testing to the end user (students):

  • Better quality software
  • Software is easier to use
  • Software is more readily accepted by users
  • Shortens the learning curve for new users

Advantages of usability testing:

  • Usability test can be modified to cover many other types of testing such as functional testing, system integration testing, unit testing,  etc.
  • Usability testing can be very economical if planned properly, yet highly effective and beneficial.
  • If proper resources (experienced and creative testers) are used, usability test can help in fixing all the problems that user may face even before the system is finally released to the user. This may result in better performance and a standard system.
  • Usability testing can help in discovering potential bugs and potholes in the system which generally are not visible to developers and even escape the other type of testing.

If you would like to know more about Usability and Quality Assurance Testing of the online courses at UNT Dallas, please contact the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies.