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No book or theory or mindless tips from me will replace hands-on experience.
If you want to do some REAL usability testing - USE THE PRODUCT!
For complex (i.e., nonintuitive) software products, playing with the
product; while always helpful, (sometimes much more so that others) is not
In the main, usability is primarily achieved through effective organization.
I agree with what Hackos, Redish, (both of TW fame); Yourdon and
DeMarco(both primarily of Structured Systems Analysis fame); Jacobson
(Object Oriented Analysis); Wienburg; and all the other software-related
gurus state: The key to effective organization (usability) is to gain a
clear, comprehensive understanding of the end-user's goals and how all of
those goals interrelate.
For complex software systems - especially if poorly designed, you can play
with the software until the cows come home and only guess at what the
end-user's goals are in using the product.