What Does User Testing Do?
For an app, website, or product to be successful, real users must test its interface and its functions. Through various usability tests, you can identify areas where users struggle with the functionality of a product and make UX and UI improvements. User testing requires participants to complete a set of tasks using a product either in a lab or in a real-world environment. Depending on the maturity of the idea, testing might be conducted with a prototype or real product.
It’s possible to define two main categories of user testing as moderated and unmoderated testing–the difference being the presence of a skilled moderator. Typically, user testing starts with defining your testing goals–UX practitioners should know what they want to achieve by testing a product. As soon as goals are identified, it’s possible to define critical metrics for user testing; the most common are success rate and time to complete a task. After this, you can choose your relevant methods of testing.
What are the Various User Testing Methods?
Common user testing methods include guerrilla testing, in-person usability testing, remote usability testing, contextual inquiries, and card sorting. With so many different user testing methods, it’s often difficult to select the best one for your product. The user testing method you choose should align with both your resources and your objectives. Consider how much time you have to invest in finding relevant test participants–people who represent your target audience and are ready to participate in the testing. It’s also recommended to pair user testing with an expert review, also known as heuristic evaluation.
What are the Most Important Aspects of User Testing?
To have an efficient design flow, it’s best to ensure these important aspects are part of your user testing:
- Define your goal. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the problems you are trying to solve and the goals you are trying to achieve.
- Know your audience. This will help you ask the right questions which leads to a design that is more focused on your users’ specific needs.
- Test early and often. Testing is a necessity in UX design. When creating your web design, it’s important to run tests often so you can validate components of your design. Prototype your design, test it with your users, and use the feedback to improve your next design.
It’s also essential to build time to analyze test results into your testing schedule. Depending on the type of testing, this step might take anywhere from a few hours (if testing was conducted automatically) to a few weeks (e.g., moderated testing with a large number of test participants without automation). The findings should always be communicated clearly and in a way that everyone on a product team can access and understand them in order to feel confident making product design decisions.
Read on for more details about user testing options and for the latest developments in UX design knowledge.