Conducting UX/UI testing is an important step in developing any digital project. This is where the bugs and glitches are ironed out to ensure the user receives a smooth and comfortable experience. Today we are going to break down UX/UI testing from start to finish.
These are the 4 main topics we will be covering:
What is usability testing?
Usability testing is a vital step because it ensures that your brilliant idea for a new application is developed so that the user receives the same experience you envisioned. UX/UI stands for “user experience” and “user interface”. This is the way that customers would experience the digital project as an impartial user. The goal of developing any app is to ensure that the final version of the software that the customers receive is easy and convenient to use and meets all of the user’s needs. This is where usability testing comes in.
Typically when performing UX/UI testing, a sample group is gathered to test the program in a variety of scenarios to imitate the practical uses of the app in the real world. These scenarios are typically overseen by a moderator who directs the testing by offering up a variety of scenarios and tasks to test the functionality of the app.
The testing process is typically run independently from the group of observers who watch and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the project. These observers can be managers, designers, or others related to the business directly or indirectly but they will typically not have any influence in the test. It is not uncommon to record the test on video and audio to refer back to and ensure that nothing important was missed. This can be a long and potentially costly venture for a company launching a new app.
So why do it at all?
Usability testing is intended to uncover any problems as early as possible in the development process to avoid having to continuously re-develop the same section in a project until it is right. Possible issues can be anything from dead links or preventable crashes to something as simple as small icons or hard to read text.
Giving the prototype version of the project to users that were not involved in the development allows you to test the functionality from an impartial 3rd party. This gives you the opportunity to see if the user understands the menu items, navigation flow, and their ability to functionally use the app for its intended purpose. This allows the development team to catch problems early and correct them without having to rework large sections of the app.
What You Will Need For UX/UI Testing
Now that the need for usability testing is apparent, what are you going to need in order to make sure the process doesn’t slow down the production of the app?
First, you will need to have a prototype version of the digital project you are testing. This could be new software, an app, or new features for your website, you just need to have the latest prototype version in order to conduct testing. To get the most out of your testing process, you should have a near functional version in order not to waste the testing opportunity. Other design elements like color pallets and content can affect the user experience but can be adjusted more easily in the later stages of development.
Make sure that your prototype version imitates as much the final version as possible. This will help uncover as many aspects of the user flow as possible to reveal glitches that need to be corrected. Pop-ups, scrolling elements, transitions between pages and scrolling motion are a few examples of features that can make the difference between a professional feeling app and one that makes users frustrated or uncomfortable.
A user device to run the application. It is necessary to trial the application on the same system that the users will be running your software on. Testing the features of a mobile program on a desktop computer is going to give an inaccurate interpretation of the user experience and can lead to inaccurate results.
Having a clear scenario or task at hand to explain why the tester is using the application will help speed up the process and encourage clear feedback about the experience. Scripting the scenario beforehand will also allow you to speed up the testing process making it more efficient for everyone involved. Picture how real users will navigate through the app and plan to have the testing group go through the same process.
The respondents that you invite in to test the program are also very important. It is important to have the test group resemble your target market. For example, a group of digital developers are going to interact with an app very differently than a group of older users would. With this in mind, consider the target market when selecting your testing group.
It is also a good idea to have a separate room that they can use for testing in order to eliminate distractions. This will help to get the best results possible for all the effort that goes into testing.
Procedure of UX/UI Testing
When conducting UX/UI testing this basic overview will give you a guide for how to start. Any respectable design agency is going to follow a similar procedure to ensure they don’t have to re-work their project once it is in the final stages. It is important to remember that there is no one right answer when it comes to testing UX/UI. Every company will have its own unique needs and so they will have to accommodate.
Find and Invite your Focus Group
In order to get accurate results, it is important that your Focus group is unbiased and roughly represents the target audience of the project. With the rise of the internet, it is easier than ever to reach the right group to match your target audience. Most of the time you will be able to find the respondents you need for a focus group by taking out an ad on a social network like LinkedIn or Facebook. You will want to have a form prepared ahead of time to help filter the results form your ad. This is a great way to filter out who is the best fit for your target audience. When extending the invites make sure to have an extra 30–40% more than the ideal sample size because there will inevitably be people who show up late or don’t show up at all.
Second Round of Selection Process
Once you have put together a focus group, make sure to spend some time talking and getting to know them. This is a chance to have your moderator or an HR person talk with the group to determine who fits into the ideal target audience and who may have been misleading on their questionnaire form. If you find that some people are difficult to work with, have a hard time communicating or generally do not meet your criteria, this is your opportunity to thank them for their time and kindly ask them to leave.
Prepare the Scenario
You should have a scenario in mind before you invite people to come in and test any program or application. Understanding the way that it would be used in a real-world setting will help you better prepare. Also knowing what information you hope to gain is an important key because it will help you plan your event and maximize benefits you get from conducting UX/UI testing.
If you are going to develop an app to promote sales, it is important to look at what pain points the customer is going to experience and look for any red flags that would make the customers uncomfortable trusting you with their financial information. You can also compare it against other retail applications in the market to compare their user experience to that of the app you are developing.
For the people designing and developing the ad, things like slow or lagging animations, inconvenient navigation, or malfunctioning links are all going to be sorted out in the testing process. Make sure that you add questions about the overall performance and functionality of the app so developers have information to work with.
Organize the Workspace
It is important when setting up your testing site that you make sure the focus group has somewhere to work that is quiet and comfortable. You don’t want to have an environment that is full of distractions but the respondents also shouldn’t feel like they are taking an exam.
Some companies will have observers in the same room as the testing group, but this typically makes both parties feel uncomfortable. If you have the room that will allow the observers to monitor remotely, it will make the results more accurate by putting everyone at ease. You can also use video and/or audio recording while the group is discussing your program to allow the developers and observers to look back at the results.
Once the focus group is gathered and in place, it is time to begin your testing process. Your moderator should explain to the participants the details of the project at hand being tested so they can understand the scenario. The moderator needs to remember that they are not there to analyze the results, simply to maintain the flow of the conversation and keep the focus group on target.
Some typical questions that the moderator would ask could include:
- When you used the product, were you at any point confused about what you were doing?
- When using the product, were there any distracting features?
- Did anything in the app get in your way?
- Were there unnecessary features you found distracting?
- Were you able to quickly find what you were looking for?
- Would you use this product in your daily life?
- How likely are you to share this product with your friends?
- What would you say about the app in your own words?
It is hard to argue the importance of UX/UI testing, especially in the early stages of development. Redesigning code takes time and money that will complicate the development process. It also allows you to get a better understanding of how the product will be used and the parts that need improvement. Following a simple procedure of usability testing as we have outlined will help you to save time and money when designing a digital project.