User Testing Why & How

I recommended all design projects do user testing, because you are not the user, and so you know too much about technology in general and for sure you know too much about your own project and you simply cannot, like, wipe your brain and pretend that you don’t know the things that you you do know. You can never have that experience of just coming for the very first time to a website. And how does that feel when you haven’t used it before?

You’ve got to get hold of real users and see what they do to get a true assessment of whether this design is easier to use, solve people’s needs. You cannot just assess that yourself. Secondly, user testing is really cheap. I mean, there’s certainly a lot of other UX research that I would like to recommend people do. But if you like a tight squeeze in the budget or if you have a short time schedule, user testing can be done in just a few days, you know, with five users. And so it’s really cheap, so cheap. It is like no excuse for not doing it. And third, user testing is very convincing. When people in your design team sit and watch their customers like struggle with the design, that motivates them to go back and make the required changes as opposed to just saying, well, I, I think this should be changed now. The users think it should be changed. And also you can show video clips of the user testing to management and executives, which will convince them to give you the budget and also to make those required changes. So now how to do user testing? Well, the first rule is get representatives’ users. You cannot test with people from your own company, with the exception of if you are designing an intranet for internal use. But if you’re designing for customers, get those customers, get the target audience and you have to test with them.

Otherwise, there’s no validity. It’s all for nothing. Secondly, you’ve got to give these users realistic tasks to perform with the user interface. You cannot just, like, show it to them and say, hey, look at this website. Isn’t it great? Would you like to use it? That’s also gives you no good data at all. People have to try to accomplish something what that design is intended to do, that people try to do that. And third, while you’re running the test, you shut up and let the users do the talking because you don’t want to bias and put words in their mouth. You want to listen to what they had to say.

Now, what they had to say might be a little bit hard on you if they very critical about your design, which no doubt you love. But that’s why you are doing this in the first place, to find out how real people react to your design. And so if you do that, you will end up with a lot of great findings to improve your design and your user interface. Your product will be so much better.

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