Five good reasons to prioritize user testing

User testing is one of our favorite ways to gain insights. We get feedback from real users and what we are left with is so extremely valuable.

User testing increases our level of knowledge about the target audience and technology, which allows us to apply this insight further in our work. We find that our customers, who usually have a participatory role in testing, are also left with the same experience.

Read our 9 tips on how to conduct a digital user test.

Here are the top five reasons to prioritize user testing in your next project:

1. We can't “pretend to be the user”, we need actual users

Creating user-friendly solutions is not something designers and developers only blood, you might be thinking? Well, we say. Of course, we come a long way with basic knowledge of user-friendly interfaces, by following well-known conventions and working according to the principles of universal design. However, in order to create truly great user experiences, we depend on having a good knowledge of actual user behavior. In a user test, we see how users actually use the solution, where they encounter problems at the same time as we hear what they really think.

Now it's the case that we can never becoming our users. We simply cannot reset our brains, or pretend not to know the things we do know. We, for example, have too much knowledge about technology and design, and the people involved in the project typically have too much knowledge about the project, the industry and so on. Therefore, to conduct a user test, we need actual people from the target audience. They will give us the best qualified answers on where the usability and concept skew, so that we can improve the solution.

2. What users say they do rarely matches what they actually do

Since we know that the user saying that they do often do not agree with what they actually doIn our experience, user testing is more useful than, for example, interviews and surveys. Especially when it comes to testing usability in an interface.

“To design the best UX, pay attention to what users do, not what they say.”
The Norman Nielsen Group

What is nice about a user test is that it is also possible to have an interview both before and after the test itself, where we can get into more detail about their attitudes and thoughts about the solution.

3. A good friend in a process

In most projects, there are many stakeholders to pay attention to, often with differing agendas and opinions on what is important. Here, user testing is an ingenious tool to find out what is really important to users. When you see users struggling with something, it becomes difficult to dispute their own opinions. A user test can either verify things one believes and assumes, or debunk it. It's that simple. Then it's a good feeling to be able to say, “We've tested exactly this, but found that this is what worked best. Just look here...”

4th. Minimize risk and prioritize

Another thing that is valuable about user testing is that it minimizes risk. Risk that we spend an unnecessary amount of time creating things that either turn out not to be necessary or interesting to the user set against the user's needs. A lot of unnecessary development can thus be saved, by getting closer to the actual needs of the user. It also allows development to be prioritized more easily, by focusing on what matters most to the user.

5. It is always possible to conduct a user test

We can test everything from texts, menu structure and sketches to all kinds of prototypes and digital solutions that already exist. What is appropriate to test depends on what we want answers to. Is it the quality of the texts, is it the visual design, or is there a special navigation flow, for example? How the user test is conducted can also be largely adapted to the level of ambition and other premises, as there are many good methods for user testing.

But: the earlier in a process you do it, the better we think it is — simply because you can get to grips with the issues faster.

Finally: all user testing is better than no user testing!

Want to know more about user testing?

Get in touch with us for a chat about your options!

What can we help you with?

Morten M Wikstrøm
Morten M Wikstrøm
CEO, Consulting
Trondheim
morten@increo.no
/
976 90 017
Sebastian Krohn
Sebastian Krohn
Agency Manager, Consulting
Oslo
sebastian@increo.no
/
988 00 306

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