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User Testing: User Testing Overview


What is User Testing?

User testing is the process of watching people try to use what you are creating/designing (or something you have already created/designed). User testing is done to discover usability errors before launching a product. It is also done to gather feedback from users on how to make the product easier to use, or prove that it is already easy to use. Different testing methods gather different results, so it is important to use more than one method.

Why Do User Testing?

  • User testing only requires limited resources
  • It is important to test no matter what stage of the project you are in
  • Testing on users that fit a persona is not important. Most usability problems are usually related to navigation, page layout etc- any user can uncover these issues
  • Involve stakeholders in the viewing of test results
  • Prioritize problems by importance, and fix them accordingly
  • Make the smallest amount of changes possible to fix problems

Who Can Do User Testing?

Anyone can conduct user testing. There are user experience professionals available to hire, or testing can be done in house if the budget doesn't permit this.

The differences between a professional conducting user tests and having it done in house include time spent testing, when testing is done, who gets tested, how many rounds of testing are done, and who analyses the results, with professional user tests having more spent on resources in each of these areas.

"Rocket Surgery Made Easy" is an excellent resource for conducting your own usability testing, and its details can be seen in the Resources page.

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