User experience testing collects data from users while they’re engaged with a product or service. This type of testing is done to see if a product or service is ready to proceed to the market. Once this is assured, additional testing may be done to make further improvements to products or services after launch. Whether you’re trying to launch a new line of pc computers or prototyping a new vacuum, it’s crucial that you follow UX best practices throughout the development cycle.
Generally speaking, you should have a prototype for everything you’re planning to offer your end-users. Whether you’re developing a physical product, app, or website, you need to create a mock-up that supervisors and shareholders can interact with before sending further information to your development team. This way, you’ll have a good idea of what works and what needs improvement toward the start of the project, which should make your overall UX design process easier.
The goals of UX design are pretty straightforward. You’re trying to ensure that your product is both useful and desirable (there is a distinction) to your users. It should be easy for them to use, and they should be able to conveniently find the solution to their problem. In other words, you’re trying to build a product that holds value for your users and that gets them to trust you. If your products and services aren’t meeting these goals, your development team will need to work on more ways to ensure they do.
This may sound simple, but it’s easily possible to make a product that’s great in theory but just has one little hiccup, like unclear instructions, that keeps users from getting its full benefits. These small problems are what you’re looking for. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to test the user experience.
UX Testing Methods
There are several testing methods you can use in UX design, with user testing being one of the most common and arguably most important. This style of testing is broken down into two basic categories.
Moderated user testing: In these tests, users are observed directly by a moderator while interacting with a product or service. The user may be guided through the process, and the moderator studies the user’s reactions and how easily they complete tasks. These tests offer the advantages of real-time feedback and the ability to ask users specific questions. One of the biggest downsides is that these tests can be expensive and will be limited by location.
Unmoderated user testing: These tests assign tasks to remote participants and are often chosen over moderated tests. These tests allow for a great diversity of participants, can be done quickly, and are inexpensive. The biggest downside is that you won’t be able to guide users through the test as easily.
There are several other UX testing methods that may be used in specific situations. Each of these can give your team great quantitative data as well as qualitative data like emotional responses and expressions that reflect how well users are responding to your product.
There’s a wide variety of tools available to make user experience testing easier. Many of these can connect you with vetted testers who understand the process, so you can collect your data as fast as possible. Demographic filters let you easily find testers who fit your target audience, no matter how niche it might be. Analytics tools make it easier than ever to get practical use out of the data you collect, and automatic transcription helps you find the exact points you’re looking for in interviews. You can even find UX testing templates to help find the approach that works best for your team.