We recently completed a usability testing for the Department of State Growth, taking a user-first approach to assessing a web interface, user flow, and information architecture for an upcoming web app. The results helped refine and improve design, enhance functionality, and resulted in better performance across the board.

Don’t guess, test

When you’ve been working on a project for a while it’s easy to lose sight of the needs of your target audience. Something that may seem obvious to you and your team may not feel intuitive to people outside your business.

Usability testing evaluates a product or service by testing it with actual users, or customers.

Asking users to complete specific tasks and observing how they interact with your site or application can provide insight into behaviour, identify potential issues, and allow you to create a more refined user experience.

 

“If you don’t talk to your customers, how will you know how to talk to your customers?” – Will Evans, Design Thinker in Residence @ NYU Stern

Why and when to test

Testing helps you understand how your users think, and how they will use your site. Whether it’s making a purchase or engaging with your brand, the more testing you do early on, the better grasp you will have on how your users think, and how you can motivate them towards an action.

Testing early in the design process can save you time, and ultimately save you money, by identifying issues before they become problems for your customers.

Some of the benefits of UX testing:

  • Identifying issues before they become problems for your users
  • Measuring user satisfaction. Does it meet their expectations? Provide a pleasurable experience? Is it easy to use, or is it frustrating?
  • Identifies the time it takes a user to complete a task, so you can refine your content and functionality, creating a seamless experience.
  • Helps resolve internal debates around functionality and design.

So how do I get started?

There are many techniques and methods for testing and validating your ideas. From surveys to interviews, card sorting to heuristic evaluation – choosing the right method for your project can make all the difference when it comes to improving your site.

Whatever method you opt for, it’s important to have a plan in mind.

  • Identify goals – What are you hoping to achieve by user testing? Increased conversions, user acceptance, brand awareness?
  • Create a plan – What method will you use for your test? Where and when will you conduct it?
  • Recruit participants – Define your target audience and recruit across a range of use cases.
  • Test! – Conduct moderated testing sessions, set up remote testing, implement an online survey, interview people in the street – whatever suits your time and budget.
  • Analyse results – Break down the data and identify patterns and themes in behaviour, commentary, and interactions. Highlight errors and frustration points for improvement.
  • Apply your findings – Use the information gathered to identify areas for improvement and refine your content.

We can help

Not everyone has the time or budget to complete usability testing. At Ionata Digital we can conduct a study on your behalf, one that’s tailored to the needs of your project.

If you’re interested in finding out how your users engage with your content, or are planning a new project and want to get a feel for your audience prior to design, contact us to see how we can help.

 

 

Interested in becoming a tester?

Sign up to our usability testing register. From time to time we invite people to come in and try out a new website or app in development. We’ll observe how you use it and then ask you for your feedback. Simple as that.