Improve Usability by Testing It with Real Users

It certainly happened to you that you spent hours and hours debating in work meetings about the best solution for your users: if the button should have a text A or B, or if the users would prefer another type of element instead of that initially created button. In the end, it turns out that all these debates belong to science which we in UXbee call “opinionology” which unfortunately has thousands of followers in all companies in the world.

Luckily, professional user experience designers have a great tool to combat opinionologists, and this efficient tool is user tests.

Throughout our professional career, we learned that the user testing technique is one of the most valuable for UX designers since it enables our colleagues to leave self-referentiality and opinionology and immerse ourselves in the world of human-centered design.

In this blog post, you will learn how to evaluate usability in the form of usability tests embedded in a design thinking process, and how you can optimize the user experience through them.

What is user testing?

A user test is a qualitative research method, the basis of which is observation and analysis of how a test group of customers uses your product. During the inspection, we observe the degree of effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which the users of your product achieve specific objectives. User testing allows us to validate or refute the assumptions we have about our designs.

Benefits of users testing

User tests provide us with significant benefits for our projects – first of all, they allow us to detect usability problems at a low cost since this type of study is much less expensive than other field studies.

In many cases, it is the best and only technique to end discussions within work teams since they allow us to demonstrate and prove the usability problems that users experience with facts.

Usability tests are convincing and allow us to show the value of the UX team’s work to other company’s areas, especially to directors and senior managers.

They help us drive UX practice within the company as it is common for user testing to be the first research technique we start to use when we begin the human-centric design process.

And, most importantly, they help us remember that we are NOT the user, since what might seem innovative and appealing from the designer’s point of view, won’t be convenient for the user.

So, by conducting the UX testing you could:

  • Uncover problems in design and concept;
  • Discover the potential for improvement;
  • You could get to know users and understand their behavior;
  • Find out whether your product is useful, understandable, and intuitive to use, thanks to feedback from your users.

When is the right time for tests?

One could carry out usability tests at almost any stage in a website or app development.

The concept “test early, test often” can also be applied to usability tests: the earlier you identify the problems, the better.

At the same time, it is principal to note that not all aspects can be tested at all times. Some tests can only be carried out in a meaningful way once a website is fully completed.

Start early, repeat time and again.

“Test early, test often” is one of the central guidelines for usability tests. The earlier you start to carry out tests, the faster you can identify and rectify all crucial problems. If this happens later, it will be more time-consuming and expensive to correct all the upraised issues.

During the design and development phase, multiple tests come in handy. For example, you can check whether a new website is accepted by the users, or if it works the way it is supposed to.

Why does it make sense to carry out the tests again and again after the launch?

Little things are constantly changing on a website, and changes can occur after a few weeks or months that limit user-friendliness without you noticing it first. Regular, small, but focused tests can not only raise awareness but also reveal other problems that may have been overlooked previously.

The evaluation of your existing applications and services can be carried out both by usability tests with real users of your target group and expert-based examinations by our experienced consultants.

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How do we perform a user test?

Real users check your application in usability tests to identify weak points in operation and give you practical recommendations for improvement. According to your exact requirements, we recruit the target group for your project and carry out these studies in one of our UX laboratories or remotely.

To do tests with users, we recruit real or possible users of your product, so the test moderator will ask them a series of questions specially designed to validate our design hypotheses. During the check, we also have the presence of one or two observers, who will be in charge of taking notes and recording the level of efficiency and effectiveness with which the users perform the tasks.

We also offer the opportunity to test your application and identify the potential for improvement based on their expertise and experience. for our experienced consultants

Thanks to our research infrastructure, which has been tried and tested over many years, we can carry out projects quickly and inexpensively. Our infrastructure includes our UX laboratories, (mobile) eye-tracking, and an excellent network for recruiting test subjects. We also offer our user research services far and wide and for all types of test objects and industries.

Six easy steps of embedding user tests in the design thinking process

In our experience, you can achieve the best results with the guided and highly iterative design thinking process. Depending on the characteristics used, this consists of a total of six or more phases, between which you can switch depending on the situation and the result you want to obtain.

Necessary phases:

1. Understanding (Scoping)

Goal: Generating a common understanding of the problem.

2. Observe (360 research)

Goal: Understand the needs of users/customers

3. Define perspective (synthesis)

Goal: Collect and condense knowledge

4. Finding ideas (forming their list)

Goal: Collecting and evaluating solution ideas

5. Developing prototypes (prototyping)

Goal: Modeling solution ideas as prototypes

6. Testing (validation)

Aim: to get user feedback

When you go through these six phases, the satisfied users will thank you in retrospect for the increased productivity of your website or app.

Success with user tests

The closest competitor is just a click away. Positive user experience and usability are essential for successful products and services nowadays. That is why the usability of your website or app is so crucial for your sales.

You can create a positive user experience, in addition to an appealing design and faultless technical implementation, through the optimal alignment of the application to the requirements of the users and their context.

Every usability test is better than none. Don’t leave your users with half-baked applications. If you have any questions or need support in conducting the usability tests, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are ready to make your websites and apps perfect for your customers.

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