What is UX Testing?

Any product is made for users. Designers/developers may earn money from creating it, sellers may gain profit from selling it, however if the end users do not benefit from it – consider the product was not worth building. Often, this statement comes to mind when implementing UX testing in companies that do not have it at all.In this article, we will explain what user experience testing is and why it has a direct impact on every company’s bottom line.

What is UX Testing?

UX testing is a research aiming to determine whether a tested interface is convenient for its intended goal. It is performed only by real people coming from the target audience. There are two UX testing approaches – qualitative and quantitative. The quantitative approach gathers statistical data on respondent behavior within a certain number of respondents.The qualitative approach reflects respondent’s impression on the product. The quantitative approach requires up to 30 persons, but it is only necessary for large-scale projects. For the qualitative approach, 3-5 persons are usually enough. In most usability testings the qualitative approach is used. A person is asked to perform a certain action/task within the given interface (for example, to make an online purchase, sign up for a newsletter, publish a post/photo, etc), while the host traces his/her behavior patterns (comments, assumptions failures, difficulties, etc.).

Why Usability Matters?

You may wonder why it’s so much bothering about UX if users are using a product anyway, and the customers still buy it. This is called the “blunt executioner’s” way. The thing is that when the customer says “I want it this way!”, the web development agency follows recommendations blindly without thinking of how it would help the customer’s business, who would actually use it, and what effect this would bring. As a result, the product is created strictly in accordance with the customer’s requirements, however, it does benefit neither the developer, nor the customer.

So web development agencies who want to grow from “blind executors” to “web dev strategists”, from whom the customers seek both execution and expertise, should dive deep into every project’s specifics, and give recommendations to their customers on what is better for them. In order to reach this level, a web development/design studio should make a small research to determine how the target audience behaves on the Web. In particular, how these people behave when using the product. It allows to get the priceless information on what works best for the customer.

 

Outsourcing User Experience Testing

There is a variety of UX testing companies on the market offering to save your money and time required for domestic usability testing. Although outsourcing may seem a totally understandable intention, it is not a great solution in this case. The thing is that outsourcing UX testing will not help your web design agency develop in any way. Typically, you will get data relevant to your current task. However, this will give you no clue on how to predict and record the user behavior in the long run.

In contrast, an in-house UX testing contributes to all your future projects. You will evolve, learn, and grow UX-wise only by providing regular usability testing yourself.

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How to Perform UX Testing?

Many web development agencies wonder at what web development stage they should implement UX testing. The earlier the issue is identified, the easier is the fix. So the correct answer is: as early as possible. Your UX flaws shouldn’t be dragged through all stages of development.

Before you get started, ensure you’ve created appropriate conditions to make your respondents feel comfortable during the whole procedure:

  1. Assign a cozy testing room so the people could relax and perform the tasks;
  2. Avoid reprimanding the respondent for doing something “wrong”! The users are never wrong. If he/she fails to do something with a given interface, blame the interface, but not the respondent;
  3. Avoid giving too many tasks. One test per session is enough. Otherwise, the attention of a respondent will not be focused on the immediate subject;
  4. Avoid overburdening your respondents with complex terminology and strict framework.

Stages of UX Testing

  • Preparation stage (defining if the company is ready for usability testing; creating tasks, defining objectives);
  • Selecting respondents;
  • Conducting the research;
  • Analyzing results (extracting maximum from the research results);
  • Presenting the report to a customer

Alternative Tools for UX Testing

Undoubtedly, implementing the usability testing process is a profitable investment. However, in some cases, you may need a less resource-intensive approach. So there are several online tools that you can use as a substitution for domestic testing. Usabilla and Loop11 are the most widely used of them. They allow uploading a part of interface, and creating tasks for anonymous responders from the Web. Both tools are free to use and extremely useful.

Definitely, “yes, Sir”-type agencies can live without UX testing. They just do not need it. However, professional web development companies with strategic thinking understand that UX testing is not only the obvious way to find flaws, but also a great solution to save money and time in the long run.