User Testing – The Key to Making Better Products
In a world of rapidly advancing technology, competition is vast. Customers can choose from products from around the globe and get them delivered incredibly quickly. It’s more important than ever to ensure your product hits the mark. It’s no longer good enough to just be ok—you have to be perfect.
What is User Testing in Product Design?
User testing is the process in which product testing occurs with real users. The aim? To gather feedback that can be used to improve the product or confirm its viability for market.
Essentially, end-user testing is designed to gain feedback from people who will actually be using the final product. Designers should collate and analyze the information and opinions collected so they can make informed decisions before implementing any changes.
User testing can be conducted in four ways—remote, in-person, moderated, and unmoderated—with each providing its own benefits.
The importance of user testing cannot be understated. You have to discover what your desired end-users think. If you don’t, you’re just guessing and hoping they will like and buy your product.
Understanding your end users' perspective empowers you to:
- Identify usability issues
- Uncover problems you didn’t know users wanted to solve
- Learn their opinion about aesthetics
- Gather feedback for improving the product
- Validate your idea and final design
Without product user testing, you increase your chances of failure.
User Testing Best Practices for Gathering Feedback
To ensure you get the most benefit from user testing, we’ve compiled a list of user testing best practices that should guide your work.
All testing participants must be part of your desired target audience. If you’ve decided on a target audience of males aged 18-25 who like a particular sport, then participants must tick all the necessary boxes.
So, if you haven’t decided on a target audience yet, then you need to do that before venturing into user testing. If you have a pool of testers that includes people not in your target audience, there’s a high chance you’ll end up making changes to your product that aren’t applicable and make it less desirable.
Creating Effective Scenarios to Test Products
Testing in realistic scenarios is another important element. Consider what your product is, how someone will use it, and where they will use it.
Your aim is to have participants test the item in a close-to-real-world situation.
For example, if you’ve designed a new blender, you need them to actually use the blender—from unboxing, reading the instructions (or not), and using it to make something.
Choosing the Best User Testing Method
Moderated, unmoderated, remote, or in-person—which one will help you achieve your goals and fit your resources?
Consider what works best for your target audience and your budget.
Whichever you choose, you need to stay focussed on achieving the feedback you need—it’s not always best to leave users to their own devices. They need a little explanation of the product, what it is, and its goals to understand how it applies to the real world.
The bottom line: Create a controlled environment that makes testers feel comfortable to give honest feedback.
Analyzing & Interpreting Feedback
Capture as much data as you possibly can from all participants. Then, be sure to cross-reference and look for trends.
If only one person suggests making a particular change, it potentially could be a personal preference of that individual. However, if multiple people in your sample group pick up on a fault or usability issue, then it should be listened to and the correct amendments made.
Not all feedback has to be implemented, but you should be dissecting everything participants put forward.
Incorporating Feedback Into Product Design
Once you’ve decided on the changes that need making, go ahead and put them in place. Still, don’t just think your work is done.
You have to go back and re-test with your target audience. The changes you made might have rectified their issues but could have uncovered new ones.
Test, amend, and re-test until you and your target audience are happy with the product and say they’d definitely buy it.
When conducted effectively, user testing has the potential to save you time and money while empowering you to create better products.
To conduct effective user testing, you need to find participants from your target audience, create a controlled environment, and choose a testing type that garners the feedback you need.
If you’re looking to create amazing products or have an idea that needs testing, get in touch today.