An integral part of any Design Thinking project involves testing with your users.
A research done by American Genius found that every $1 invested in UX results in a return between $2 and $100. Therefore, it is a surprise that only 55% of companies currently do any sort of user testing.
Only 55% of companies are currently conducting any user experience testingSkyhook, 2017
Some of the most common excuses include:
- We don’t have budget for testing
- We don’t have any customers
- What is the value of testing?
From a study conducted by the Nielson Norman Group, the truth is that testing with 5 users will uncover 85% of the usability problems, and testing with as little as 15 users will uncover almost all usability problems.
5 users will uncover 85% of your usability problemsNielson Norman Group
Now that we have established the importance of testing, here are some quick steps to help you kickstart your testing.
Step 1: Build a prototype or product to test. The prototype doesn’t have to be complete, as long as it can communicate what it is supposed to do. It can be a few drawings on a piece of paper (Pen on Paper) or it could be a clickable prototype done in PowerPoint (who doesn’t know how to use PowerPoint right?). It can look something as simple as this.
Step 2: Draft the test plan. You need to have some specific tasks for your user to complete. You will not be able to collect any meaningful data by asking your user to look at it and tell you if he likes it. He needs to experience using it.
Step 3: Perform the test. Find a small group of users to test your prototype on. The users cannot be the folks who are working on the project as their view would be biased. You need to find users who are representative of your user base. Adapting the Pareto principle, users should represent the 20% of the user base which would use 80% of your product features.
A great tip during the testing would be to constantly ask the user to “Show Me” using the prototype. If his feedback is that the interface feels clunky, ask him to show you where it feels clunky. If he has difficulty on how to navigate, ask him to show you where he got stuck.
During the test, allow the user to explore the app on his own, without your prompts. In the real world, you won’t be there either.
Step 4: Documenting the test results. The test results can be documented either through scores. For e.g., 3 out of 5 users could find this feature. Or you could also (with permission) video the user testing your prototype.
To round up this post, User testing is an essential part of the User Experience cycle, and should be conducted whenever there is another iteration of your product.
Let’s hear it from Jakob Nielson himself!