UX testing: Why should you consider it and how to do it

headerFor most of us just starting out, designing a website is a matter of following conventions and personal opinion. But what happens when you decide to take the next step and figure out how your users specifically interact with your site to achieve important tasks, such as buying from your web shop, or figuring out your shipping policy?

Here is where User Experience (UX) Testing comes in. By observing how people in your audience use your site, you might be able to glean important insights that would help you to improve your site performance. For example, is your check out process confusing and if so, why? Is that a cause of people abandoning the process?

Fortunately, it does not take an expert to run a good UX Test. All it takes is a bit of resourcefulness and ingenuity – and you too can do it for minimal costs. Interested? Great. Let’s get started.

How to run a UX Testing Programme

Decide what to test

The first thing you are going to need to decide on is what, exactly you want to be testing. It could be registering for a new account, or renewing a subscription to your service. The idea is to figure out the bottlenecks occur and what their root causes are.

Frame the tests as scenarios

Creating scenarios put your users in situations they may genuinely encounter in real life. This, in turn, creates an authentic flow which you can then learn from. So for example, a scenario you show your user might read ‘Imagine you received this email to renew your magazine subscription – how would you go about renewing it?’ would give you more insight than if you put them on your homepage and said ‘Go renew the subscription.’

Recruit users

With the scenarios defined, you would have a great idea on the profile of the people you’d like to test. Looking for the right people is critical – different people would approach it differently based on a whole slew of factors. It is thus important to get people in your audience. If it is someone you know, you can recruit them, otherwise, there are several places to find them online. Your Craigslist page would be a good place to start, otherwise, Fiverr or Task Rabbit may also be viable options to look for viable candidates.

Set the environment to be as natural as possible

If you are in a pinch, your office conference room would work fine, but the environment is something you should pay attention to. If this is a purchase that is normally done privately, do not schedule the test at a public coffee shop. Experts recommend that a co-working space, or a private lounge work. If your office has a nice pantry area, that could work too.

When it comes to setting up the computer, people have different preferences. Some recommend screen recording apps such as Inspectlet, while others prefer filming the process so as to capture how the user physically interacts with the site. Either way, it is important to record so you can review later to see the smaller moments.

Make the user as comfortable as possible, but do not answer their questions about your website or app

When introducing the participant to the task, setting the stage to get honest feedback is tremendously important. It is in people’s nature to be nice about things, so apart from the background of what you are trying to achieve, do let them know that it is the design of the website that being tested, and not them. The goal is to see how well the website explains what needs to be done and so you would not be taking specific questions pertaining to how things work.

Another important thing to let them know is roughly how long this is expected to take (people tend to drift off after around 20 to 30 minutes), and how many tasks they will be completing during this session. This gives them a context in which to understand what they are doing.

Lastly, do let them know that what they are doing is being recorded, just out of professional courtesy.

Congratulations! Now that the sessions are complete, you can really begin

After you consolidate the feedback, it is now time to go review the footage, and pick up on any recurring themes. What was done well? What could have been improved? This would then feed into what you need to change in a future version which you can repeat the process all over again. Wasn’t that fun?