How to conduct usability tests?

As soon as possible. The following entry is for people who avoid testing for various reasons. The tests can be carried out independently and do not require large resources and skills. I encourage developers and analysts (product owners) to test their solutions. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind:

I am not the same as the client

Very often I come across the statement that in my opinion this functionality is ok. Apart from the anecdotal „It works for me”, we are not subjective. We know the product and probably from websites that our customers have not even heard of.

A colleague is not a customer

The fact that the colleague from the desk next to him likes your solution does not mean that customers will like it. Why? He probably knows the product, isn’t assertive, or just wants to be nice.

You are working in the production of digital products. Both you and your colleague are most likely in the group of a dozen or so percent, which we call the so-called Hard Userami. So you can handle any interface, no matter how complicated. (you are probably also responsible for installing the printer for your parents 🙂 Ok, since we rejected you and your friends from work from the tests, then

Who to test on?

Know your target audience. If you do not work with a specialized software, then this group is probably so wide that you will surely find someone who signs in among your friends. You don’t need a lab and some amazing software. Testing in the „natural environment” is much friendlier for both you and the user.

What to test?

As for the tool, you have total freedom. I recommend paper tests 🙂 You can sketch a simplified diagram or print another screens. Your choice. You can make a basic prototype for mobile from the Marvel application (easy to use). If you have some time, put a simple prototype in Invision. Both tools are free.

How to test?

Choose the basic problem that your product solves. Determine what screens are necessary to test your solution. Create a story that your friend has to do. For example, „Register on my site”. Prepare the screens that are needed to complete this scenario (see above). And watch.

If you have a paper prototype, you must describe what is happening and replace the pages. Watch where the user is hesitating. Do not stop testing. Let him finish, then ask why and where he had doubts. Were all the names and elements intuitive to him? Maybe he would change something? There are a lot of questions. Just talk about the project after completing the tests. If you have such an opportunity, record it. There is a lot of free recording software.

Why test?

Five users will find 80% of the problems with your product. Remember that. Already after the first tests you will see that the opinion of an outsider is worth its weight in gold. It’s nice if you have planted a testing culture in your organization. The return is irrefutable.

I know it is not easy. I once wrote about the fact that sometimes it is better to hand over the project without testing than to allow arbitrariness to arise. Which does not change the fact that you can also test (and have to) after implementation.