User testing is the extensive testing of an application or website to make sure the product that has been built is convenient to use and easy to learn.
User tests allow you to:
Users are given specific tasks to complete and when they are at work, observers watch their body language, facial expressions, emotions and encourage them to “think aloud” i.e. speak up whatever comes to their mind while using the product.
User testing lets the design and development teams identify problems before they are coded. The earlier issues are identified and fixed, the less expensive the fixes will be in terms of both staff time and possible impact on the schedule.
Testing does not require a formal usability lab and there are a number of tools now available that make the process relatively easy to get started, such as https://lookback.io/. In fact, we like to invite users to our lounge which provides an informal, relaxed environment that puts users at ease.
At Skylab we are big fans of a two-stage interview process:
During problem interviews, we engage with our target audience to validate that we are tackling real problems for our audience. We explore the user’s world view and make sure that the problems we are focused on solving resonate with the user.
Once we have the confidence that we understand the problems our users face we move onto the solution phase.
During solution interviews, we test our ideas and prototypes with our target audience. Ideally, we’ll use high-fidelity prototypes that allow us to illustrate to the user how our solution solves their problems. This stage allows us to validate that we are focused on the right solution!
Only once we have the confidence that the problem is well understood and the solution is effective, do we then move onto the next stage – developing our Minimum Viable Proposition (MVP).
By including our target audience at this early stage, we are able to de-risk the project and ensure we are focusing time, energy and budget on a valid service or project that adds real value to our users.
Do you have any digital goals, challenges or ideas you want to discuss?
We would love to have an informal chat and share our knowledge and expertise with you, with no obligation.