As designers, it’s easy to get emotionally attached to our work and user testing can be intimidating. The process of asking others to review our creative ideas is important in every profession but is crucial when it involves user experience and design. When we learn from our users or the people we’re actually designing for, it enables us to craft the best and most usable product possible.
At Amazee Labs, we conduct usability tests using the following stages.
We Define which part of our client’s website or digital campaign we should be testing
Are there any apparent issues relating to how users will interact with certain parts of the campaign? Perhaps it’s an interaction with a particular piece of functionality or design? Or are we at all concerned if a user will know what to do as they land on the web page? This is where we, along with our client can gather our concerns and thoughts, making a list of pros, cons, and areas of potential improvement.
We identify our objectives
The objectives should be defined by determining the user’s most common tasks when engaging with the website, for example – making a purchase.
Choosing the most suitable methodology
There are two types of testing methodologies we can use when it comes to testing the usability of our website, namely qualitative and quantitive testing. These types can be used individually, depending on what research outcome you wish to obtain.
- Direct observation and conversation with a moderator.
- Small samples of participants, approximately 5 – 50 users.
- The findings of these sessions show us how and why a user behaves the way they do. We tend to learn about their needs, what motivates them and what their concerns are.
- No interaction or conversation with a moderator (e.g. A/B testing or eye-tracking).
- Larger groups of participants, 50 or more users.
- The findings include data-based information surrounding how often users click, how much time is spent on certain areas/pages of the website.
Establish points of success
Once we know what functionality we’re testing and how to test it, it’s important to set measurable benchmarks in order to set the right standard for success. For example, when I was part of a usability study for a client at Amazee Labs, I was asked to explore the website and find a new product; I was also asked to find out if this product had a warranty, which I did. All these behaviours including my conversation were recorded. Setting this standard for success helps us to decide if the website user experience is accessible and intuitive.
Facilitate the test with a script
The script should include the goal of the session; if we’re recording it’s important for the participant to have some context of the product or brand. We can also question the participant on what they may already know about the product. To ensure that the study is unbiased and objective, our moderators always make sure to be consistent, either remaining quiet or using the same script in each session.
Find your users and delegate roles
The most challenging part of user testing is finding the right people for the study. Through our research we have found that most experts suggest that you use only 5 applicants per study, these applicants should also closely resemble the client’s actual user base, finding the right candidates can be done by creating comprehensive personas. In the ideal world using the actual target market as your participant is your best option, but this isn’t always feasible. Another possibility we could explore is to recruit colleagues, family or friends. Never use budget constraints as an excuse to not test, testing with people who aren’t your direct target audience, is better than no testing at all.
Analyse the figures and reporting our findings
After the study has concluded we are able to collect a remarkable amount of valuable data. Once we’ve analysed this data, we can then discover various user behaviours and patterns which help us to gauge which areas of functionality and design need improvement. With this information, we can provide relevant recommendations and new creative opportunities. When analysing this data, it’s important to keep two things in mind, the user’s performance and their overall feeling about the website. Remember it’s not unusual for a user to be able to quickly achieve their task goal, but still, feel negative about the overall experience.
At Amazee Labs, we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort studying different user behaviours through usability testing. We’ve learned that this approach allows us to gain valuable insight into how users perceive and use our client’s products. As a tool, usability testing is inexpensive, saves development time and ultimately saves our clients money. Why not drop us a line, say hello and find out more.