User Testing

There are a bunch of different ways to test and learn.

Main Test Ingredients:

  • Something to test: An app, website, physical product
  • Someone to use it: Candidates, potential customers, known customers or users
  • Someone to facilitate the test with the candidates: ask them the right questions
  • Someone to capture the output: not influencing the test in any way
  • Someone to write up the findings: conclude learnings, make recommendations

Environments to Test in:

  • Testing facility: set-up with cameras and microphones and observation room
  • Anywhere: “guerilla testing” conducted in public spaces with people
  • Everyday: “diary studies” capture peoples feedback, actions and behaviours over a long period of time in their everyday environment
  • Shadowing session: watching the candidate use what you want to test or learn about in it’s everyday set-up

Who to Test:

  • Who the company wants to hear from: what is the primary objective of audiences the company wants to learn from and why?
  • Who uses it day to day
  • Who is using a competitor product
  • Who you think will use it
  • Who uses something like it in another sector

How to find the people you want to learn from in tests:

  • Write down who these people are, the more the better
  • Use this information to research them further, conduct interviews to learn more about them
  • Write a recruitment brief, this will outline how we make sure we are talking to these people
  • Partner with a recruiter, they will need to know what cash incentive participants will get, how long the test will take, when it will take place and where
  • Partner with your company, working with marketing and customer services teams will allow you to easily talk to customers
  • Screen your participants on the phone before you book them in, you need to check they didn’t just tick boxes to get a bit of free cash
  • Write up your call-sheet, the list of participants, their contact details and when they have agreed to visit to do the test

What to test:

  • Keep it simple. The general rule of thumb is we try to cover to much in sessions.
  • Task assignments. “Can you change the profile picture?”
  • What do you see? Capturing what gets the attention of a fresh pair of eyes is critical
  • Confidence. Are participants comfortable with buttons, actions and expected consequences of their taps and clicks


Useful Links

A customer experience design organisation