User testing is an essential process in launching a new website or product. Getting the right information from your target market could ultimately determine your product’s success.
It is important to outline your requirements before you begin your testing. Think about what your users need from you, and what you need from them in order to receive useful feedback. The feedback you receive could have serious implications on your product; gaining more than one consumer perspective will help you discover your product’s market viability.
- Ask for regular feedback throughout the process
It is imperative that user testing is a constant consideration throughout the design process. Leaving your user testing until right before you are ready to launch could leave you with a whole lot more problems than you anticipated. Connecting with your audience early and getting their feedback at regular intervals will help you understand their needs and respond to them accordingly. This is not to say every single design tweak needs to be user tested, but scheduling in 4 or 5 tests (depending on project length) during the project will boost your relationship with your audience.
- 2. Ask the right questions
Have a set of hypotheses in mind before drafting your questions, decide what you want to address and problems that you suspect will arise. Although you can’t read the minds of your users, this should make surprises less likely when you gather your results. Think about the most important aspects of your product; relate your questions to these aspects in order to ensure that they are working as intended. Gather the overall results from your users; were they satisfied with their experience? Did they find it useful? Would they use it again?
- 3. Ask the right people
Getting information from a broad demographic can be useful, but don’t forget to ensure that the people you ask are likely to be your end users when your product is launched. Receiving relevant feedback from real users is a huge hint to how well your product communicates with your target audience. These people will be using your product; their feedback really does count.
- 4. Consider different methods
One of the most popular methods of collecting user feedback is remote user testing. This usually means giving users access to your product and sending out survey forms online. This is particularly advantageous as you can implement this method from wherever you are, however, using more than one method could help you gain significantly more effective results.
Using a focus group is another popular option; this involves gathering a group of users that your product is intended for, and interviewing them while they interact with your product. This allows you to collect real time information on your product and actually see how your users respond to it.
There are also plenty of online tools to help roll out your user testing. Intuition HQ offers live user testing for websites, it records the users interactions and calculates the time they take to get around your website. Intuition HQ offers a free package to help you get started but also offers monthly pricing plans for a more extensive experience.
Five Second Test is another online tool, which allows you to upload your design mockups and wireframes. These are then shown to users on screen for 5 seconds, then a series of questions are asked in order to find out the users response in their short time of viewing your mockup. This is helpful to gain an understanding of how your product communicates in such a short space of time. It is free to sign up but offers various pricing options based on your requirements.
- 5. Be specific
If your questions are too open ended, you might not receive the responses you were looking for. Allow the user to speak their mind, but make sure you are clear with what you are asking. Engage your test users, keep them interested but don’t shy away from coming up with questions based around specific elements of your product, however small. What is the intention of this element? And is it working?
- 6. Be prepared to compromise
You might think your product works just fine, but if your users are finding a common problem, be sure to address it. Listen to your audience, but if a user makes a comment or suggestion that does not work, find common ground and come up with an alternative solution. Never allow your product to lose integrity, but be prepared to make compromises; it is impossible to please everybody all at once, but making changes in response to your users’ concerns is essential.
- 7. Address problems and repeat test
This is particularly significant based on the above point, if you have tried to make compromises with your product; it is crucial that you find out whether these changes have solved the issues. Remember, your users’ concerns become your concerns too; gathering feedback is pointless unless you address each problem accordingly. Repeat the process again; tweak your questions based around your latest changes if necessary and deliver to your users.
Intuition HQ – http://www.intuitionhq.com/
Five Second Test – http://fivesecondtest.com/