This guide is intended for web.dev content authors and reviewers. The purpose of this guide is to help authors and reviewers align their expectations about what's in-scope and out-of-scope for any given content review.
Objective: The purpose of a usability review is to gain confidence that users can actually accomplish tasks based on the guidance that we've provided.
What kinds of content should get usability reviews? Any content that takes you from point A to point B should get a usability review. Examples:
- Codelabs like Configure HTTP caching behavior
- Tooling guides like Replace animated GIFs with video
- API guides like Getting started with Trust Tokens
Who can conduct usability reviews? In general, anyone who approximately matches the skill level of your target audience is a good candidate for a usability reviewer. For example, if your guide assumes basic knowledge of service workers, a good usability reviewer would be someone who has implemented a basic service worker in the past. Someone significantly below your target skill level may not be able to follow along with the guidance. Someone significantly above your target skill level may miss problems that your target audience is going to get stuck on due to the curse of knowledge. However, if you can't find someone representative of your target audience, getting a usability review from an expert is always better than not getting any usability reviews at all.
What should the usability reviewer focus on? The reviewer should do a hands-on verification of the guidance. In other words, they should make sure that they can actually complete the task with the guidance that has been provided. Continuing with the examples from earlier:
- For the Configure HTTP caching behavior codelab, the usability reviewer should use the incomplete website that's provided and verify that they can use the instructions to create a complete website that exactly matches the end state of the codelab
- For the Replace animated GIFs with video tooling guide, the usability reviewer should use the tool in one of their own projects and verify that the tool actually provides benefit (in this case, the video files that are produced should be smaller than the animated GIF files)
- For the Getting started with Trust Tokens API guide, the usability reviewer should use the guidance to implement the API in one of their own projects
The most valuable feedback that the usability reviewer can provide is detailed descriptions of where they got stuck and what was confusing.