Apps, prototypes, sites, & services
User testing is all about engaging with customers to understand why they behave the way they do.
There is a direct correlation between the number of hours each team member is exposed directly to real users and the improvements we see in the designs. It’s the closest thing to a silver bullet.
In his Center Centre – UIE article: Fast path to Great UX – Increased Exposure Hours.
Test assumptions, remove opinion and gain insight into your customers that will help you to generate ideas that actually address their needs and increase conversion and engagement.
When user testing is useful?
A new app or digital concept
Launching something totally new? Put a low-fidelity prototype in front of your users to find out if they understand the concept and the value proposition before you invest in building your solution.
Use a medium-fidelity prototype to see if customers are able to complete tasks efficiently and what issues they may face.
An iterated design
Made some changes to an existing design? Gather insight into how the solution exceeds user needs and mitigate unexpected consequences before going live.
Deeper understanding of a problem
User testing is not just about testing solutions but ensuring you know all you can about the problem you are solving. We can have in-depth conversations about previous experiences or even user-test competitors’ experiences.
Understand the 'why'
Quantitative data such as analytics will tell you what customers are doing and qualitative research like user testing will tell you why you are seeing that behaviour.
What can’t be tested
Usability tests are great at finding out problems in a design or customer journey. What it can’t do is prove that a customer will definitely use it or how much they will pay for it, outside of the test.
Usability testing will ensure that you don’t have obstacles in the way of a customer completing their transaction. It will help you understand why customers are behaving a certain way, or why they are dropping off at a certain point of your journey. It’s possible to deduce how customers, similar to the ones we tested, will behave in these scenarios, but because we don’t know how large the target market is, we can’t guarantee that behaviour will happen in your entire customer base.
Usability testing, like all qualitative research, pairs very nicely with quantitative data. Your analytics can tell you what customers are doing and usability tests will tell you why, as well as give suggestions to improve their behaviour. Your analytics will then validate if your iterations are successful.
We like remote testing
In the pre-Covid world, usability tests were either run at a hired venue or your offices, provided you had two rooms available and a good internet connection. Since lockdown has forced us to conduct our research remotely, we have become rather good at it and still prefer it now that lockdown has lifted. In the beginning of lockdown, we wrote a blog post investigating at all the pros and cons of remote testing.
In the few instances that we need to run an in-person test, we will discuss a venue and logistics in the kick-off session.
For our remote session, we stream the test over a secure Youtube or Vimeo link so your team can watch them live or we can record them to watch later. We edit the recorded videos slightly to remove the parts where we are getting set up. There is a lot of, “Can you hear me?” in remote testing.
How it usually works
We start with a kick-off session with you to determine what needs to be tested. This could be mobile or desktop; a prototype, concept, app or live site.
We will also need to define who we will be recruiting for the day. We use two types of dimensions to help create a recruit brief: demographic dimensions (age, income, location…) and behavioural dimensions (tech adverse, relies on social proof, currently looking for life cover…).
Finding the right people to test is vital so we use a team of the best recruiters in South Africa, Europe and the USA. We create a carefully designed screener based on your brief to ensure that respondents meet your target market criteria. We also recruit one extra in case there are any last-minute cancellations.
If we are running the sessions remotely, we make sure they have access to the internet and have a device that can load your site or prototype. We run a test call with them before the sessions to confirm what phone or computer they will be using, test their internet, and buy them data if needed.
Based on what needs to be tested or what learnings you are looking for, we will formulate the best way to gather the findings. Knowing what types of questions to ask, and when to ask them, comes from a familiarity with research theory and years of experience.
We will share this with you before the test to get your input.
We usually test with 5 customers a day in 45 minutes to 1-hour sessions. Remote research has its technical issues, so we will record all the videos, slightly edit them and play them back to you the next day or in the workshop as if they were live. You are also able to watch them live on the day if you wish.
A session usually includes ethnographic questions and task-based questions. Have a look at the questions below for more detail.
There are two ways we can process and present the findings after the test:
A formal debrief document laying out all the complications discovered during testing. Paired with videos featuring the most impactful segments, this document highlights the most important findings for which, we create precise, actionable recommendations for both the short and long term, including possible sketches of the solutions.
This option is recommended for involving stakeholders who weren’t able to watch the tests, or if you’re not in a position to make immediate changes and need a record of the findings.
A workshop run a day or two after usability testing has finished. Working with the project team, we focus on the most pressing issues, coming up with quick wins to better the user experience. This option has a much faster turnaround time and closer involvement with your team.
How we measure findings
We measure findings on a four-level severity rating. This is based on how long it took the participant to complete a task as well as how confused they were about what they were doing.
This is something that a customer will enjoyed or completed easily.
Caused confusion and doubt. Some of these are inevitable, but enough of these can cause “death by a thousand paper cuts”.
Slowed down the completion of the task and caused some irritation. These will reduce trust and credibility, and if this happens a few times, customers will probably give up.
The task was not completed. These issues will obstruct a process completely and will stop a customer from taking action. These will also reduce repeat usage.
5 user interviews (±60mins each)
Viewing day: Watching the recorded videos of the sessions we did the day before. This is a little easier than watching them live as remote interviewing and testing often has technical issues.
Workshop day: A full day online workshop with your team, directly after the viewing day, where we analyse and prioritise the findings then come up with quick win solutions and next steps.
Longer, more complex topics, apps or websites. Requires the team to be available for two full days, stay involved and take notes. Great for teams that need quick, actionable insight.
5 user interviews (±60mins each)
Viewing day (Optional): Watching the recorded videos of the sessions we did the day before.
Report: We will create a full report of the customer insights or UX issues with severity ratings and a ‘highlights reel’ of the most interesting parts of the interviews. This will include clips, recommendations and next steps.
Larger teams that have stakeholders that are not able to attend full day workshops or viewing days and need a debrief to view in their own time or to keep as a record.
If you need something a little different, we can tailor our UX research to fit your team’s needs
This could include:
- A workshop and report
- More participants (5, 10, or 15)
- Getting designs ready for testing
- Ideation or persona workshops
- Journey mapping and JTBD
- Consolidating other research
- Product team training
Get in touch and we will create a proposal for you.
An in-person user testing runs in a client’s office. For in-person testing, we can chat about venues and logistics.
Usability testing questions
Usability testing is a lot like giving your digital product a trial run. It’s an essential part of UX (User Experience) research that ensures your website or app isn’t just good on paper – it’s user-friendly in real life, too.
It’s all about letting actual users take your product for a spin and seeing how they find the experience. But it’s not just about finding issues – it’s about finding solutions. We’re here to turn those insights into action, making your customers’ user experience even better.
With so much competition in the modern market, usability testing isn’t just a nice-to-have – it’s a must. It’s the secret sauce that allows you to really get to grips with your users’ needs and preferences, helping you create digital solutions that are functional, intuitive, and enjoyable.
Without usability testing, it’s like designing in the dark. You could create a product that looks great in theory but falls flat in practice due to poor usability. Usability testing is the torch that lights the way, helping you design with confidence and making sure your product is in tune with your users’ needs.
Each round will be different depending on what the main challenge is that we are testing, but usually, there are four main phases to a 60-minute usability test
Warmup and background
First, we will ask general questions about the respondent. This is not only an icebreaker but also to confirm which personas they might belong to as well as confirm some of the items they answered on the screener.
In-depth customer interview
We don’t just test the interface in a usability test. In the beginning, we spend time understanding your customers’ behaviours, motivations and feelings. We can delve into the nuances of why they chose a certain product or how they feel about a brand.
We will ask them to complete certain tasks we have decided on in the testing plan. While they complete these tasks, we’re keenly observing, taking note of any problem areas or places where users get stuck. For example, test users might struggle to find the CHECKOUT button. In these instances, our team members ask guiding questions such as “What’s going on now?” or “Where to next?” to elicit more information about the user’s experience. These questions are not designed to frustrate the test user but rather to investigate tricky spots which may have been overlooked.
We will ask for final thoughts about the overall experience. Usability tests can’t prove if customers will definitely use something outside of the test, but it’s sometimes rather interesting to ask them to imagine themselves using it tomorrow to see what they come up with.
Ready to book?
At How Might We, we’re big on helping businesses discover the power of usability testing. Our expert team is all about delivering meticulous and comprehensive testing services, giving you a crystal-clear picture of your users’ interactions and experiences.
Whether you’re after website user experience testing, online usability testing, or want to get a leg up with competitive usability testing, we’ve got you covered. Our testing methods are flexible, allowing us to conduct tests remotely or through in-depth interviews to suit your needs.
Ready to discover how usability testing can revolutionise your digital presence? Don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat or to find out more about what we can offer. With How Might We, usability isn’t just a box to tick—it’s the key to creating top-notch user experiences and nailing digital success. Let’s create something amazing together!
Usability in user experience is the secret to digital success.
Chat with us and let’s turn your user insights into actionable improvements!
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