Usability Testing is the assessment of a product or service's effectiveness and efficiency as viewed by a specified group of users. It is customer-focused and based upon actual product/service trial. Usability Testing is most frequently employed with Web site testing, but is also used for myriad other applications such as assembly instructions, packaging use, product preparation, and other consumer-based actions. Usability Testing is a technique for ensuring that the intended users of a system can carry out the intended tasks. During a Usability Test, feedback is gathered to improve product design. The immediate result of a Usability Test is a list of specific recommendations as to how to improve the product. Usability Testing is done in a Usability Lab. Although actual lab designs may vary, Usability Labs tend to have the following in common: There are usually two rooms, one for the Observer(s) and one for the Participant(s). A one-way mirror separates the rooms so that the Observer can view the Participant unobtrusively. The Observer side is where the Usability Engineer and other observers may view the study. The one-way mirror allows observers to clearly see the participant side during the study, while minimizing any distractions for the participant. The wall and the one-way mirror are sound-proofed so that observers can converse without disturbing the participant. The Participant side of the lab is designed to simulate an environment appropriate to the product or service being tested. For example, if a Web site is being tested there will be a desk and chair set up with a computer, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. There are at least two cameras that can be positioned at virtually any angle by the engineer on the Observer side. Cameras are used to record the participant's expressions and movements while participating in the actions required. Microphones and speakers allow for communication between the two rooms but are in the control of the Observer side. Usability Testing not only provides a disaster check, but also, when properly employed, can provide direction for appropriate product design and marketing.