UX testing, or usability testing, comes in many forms and there isn’t really a one size fits all solution - especially if you’re working without a research team. As designers, you might experience time constraints, budget limitations or dry spells in other resources. That’s why introducing varied UX testing methodologies can present you with quick wins, that help you bridge the gap between your product and end-user and might end up saving your user experience.
What is UX testing?
You may have heard about UX testing by one of its other names: usability testing, user testing or even user research. All it means is putting your product or feature in front of people who look like your end-user, to generate both qualitative and quantitative feedback.
This feedback enables you, as a designer, to focus your time and energy on the things that really matter and will give you a better chance of providing an excellent experience for your end-user.
Introducing these UX testing methodologies, will also make your life easier. You’ll:
- Save time by spending less of it working on the wrong things
- Generate actionable feedback from the people that matter
- Validate your ideas with your end-user
Having a good user experience also has incredible benefits for businesses including improving customer retention and satisfaction, decreasing churn and saving valuable time and money.
Three UX testing methodologies that will generate actionable results, fast
Remote User Testing
Remote user testing doesn’t differ too much from standard face to face usability testing, only in that the location of the participant and the facilitator are different. In these cases, the participant can carry out the test in a more natural environment like at home or on the move and it can be carried out both moderated and unmoderated.
This method is great for racing against the clock, by cutting admin of organising diaries, no travel time allocation and no facilities set up - you save heaps of time. In the same strain, this also makes it a good option if you’re tight on cash.
User testing software can also help you not only reduce time proximities with inviting users in face to face, but also help you reach a global audience (should you need it). Some tools will enable you to send your prototype to people via a simple URL, carry out the test, congregate the data and deliver it back to you in.
Unmoderated User Testing
Traditionally, usability testing has been carried out with both parties present, both the facilitator and participant. Which as we’ve discussed, can take a lot of coordination and time. However, now due to the rise in user testing tools, it’s possible to carry out user tests unmoderated.
An unmoderated user test is where there is no facilitator present - the participant can crack on with the tasks in their choice of pace, place and time.
This format is super helpful as the tests themselves don’t disrupt your workflow, they’re happening whilst you’re working on something else! On top of this, it means you can get actionable feedback from participants super fast - like by the end of the day. And on top of that, not having a moderator means less money spent which leaves budget for more tests or, anything else your team desires.
Guerrilla User Testing
The most simple and fastest UX testing methodology is that of guerrilla user testing. It's a relatively new process that's taking the usability testing space by storm.
All it requires is taking your design or prototype into a public space, be it a cafe or a park, and approaching passers-by and asking them for their thoughts. It’s probably useful to go into this with a structured conversation in mind and a set goal of what you would like the passerby to achieve. That way you’ll have a baseline and something to measure.
You might have some questions on the validity of running out to grab answers from people who aren’t even spec’d as your end-user. However, there are some pluses to guerrilla testing: there’s no waiting around for candidates, whoever you do speak to is a user of something and will have some valid opinion on tech and it’s also an opportunity to explore your testing skills!
It’s important to remember that just because this is a speedy way to test, it shouldn’t be totally unplanned. Think about your presentation, the discussion, the goal and the grateful sign off.
The best way to validate your work
With user experience being a cornerstone to the success of any product, it’s safe to say it’s important to understand you’re designing with the end-user in mind. The best way to validate your work, is by connecting your designs or prototypes with your key audience through testing.
The word testing may raise a few red flags, ones that say ‘I don’t have the time’, ‘ patience’ or ‘money’. But we raise you a white flag filled with the most handy UX testing methodologies that can improve your product and not take you a million years to get there.
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