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User Experience Testing: How to Create Intuitive Interfaces

User Experience Testing: How to Create Intuitive Interfaces

User experience (UX) testing has become a crucial design process. With so many apps and websites competing for attention, UX testing helps ensure your product stands out for the right reasons. This comprehensive guide will explore User Experience testing, why it’s essential, methodologies, best practices, and more to help elevate your UX.

What Exactly is UX Testing?

What Is User Testing

Put simply, UX testing evaluates how easy and enjoyable your product is for users. But let’s break it down further:

  • User Experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of a user's interaction with your product, including the interface, visual design, content, interactions, ease of use, satisfaction, and more.
  • UX Testing – The practice of observing actual users interacting with your product to identify strengths, weaknesses, pain points and areas for optimisation.
  • Goals – The goals are to see where users struggle, what delights or frustrates them if the product is intuitive, and how it might be improved. Testing provides insight into the user perspective.

In a nutshell, UX testing lets you watch target users engage with your app/site to uncover opportunities to create a more intuitive, seamless experience.

Why Invest Time in UX Testing?

With so many demands on product teams, you may wonder why UX testing deserves attention. Here are four compelling reasons:

1. Identify User Pain Points

Your internal team is highly familiar with your product. You know how everything is supposed to work. Your users don’t! Based on the current design, UX testing highlights areas where users struggle to feel confused or frustrated.

2. Validate Design Direction

By getting your product into the hands of actual users early and often, you can validate that your design direction aligns with user needs and expectations. Early user feedback leads to quick pivots.

3. Prioritise Opportunities

When multiple issues crop up in UX testing, decide which ones to tackle first based on factors like frequency, severity and effort to address. This ensures you maximise impact.

4. Drives Digital Success Metrics

Optimising for an intuitive user experience leads to hard business results like increased conversion rates, lower bounce rates, higher revenue, better retention, and positive App Store ratings.

UX Research: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Testing

A Beginners Guide To Qualitative And Quantitative Research

You’ll choose between quantitative and qualitative methods when designing a UX testing plan. They each serve different purposes.

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Quantitative Testing

Quantitative tests emphasise numerical data like task success rates. They focus on what proportion of users can complete critical tasks quickly. Examples include:

  • First-click tests – Where do users first click to attempt completing a task? This reveals if the path is intuitive.
  • Five-second tests – What impressions do users form just five seconds after viewing a design?
  • Preference tests – Which of two or more proposed designs do users prefer and why?
  • Benchmark tests – How do task success rates for your design compare to benchmarks and past versions?

Qualitative Testing

While quantitative testing emphasises statistics, qualitative testing uncovers deeper insights through open-ended feedback. Examples include:

  • Moderated tests – Sessions where users share thoughts aloud as they engage with your product while a researcher guides them with questions and observations.
  • Unmoderated tests – You provide instructions and let users self-navigate through your product while recording their expressions, clicks, keyboard activity, etc.
  • Interviews/focus groups – Directly ask 5-10 users questions on what they like, dislike, would change, etc., about the product experience.
  • Surveys – Gather open-ended written feedback from users at scale via online surveys.

The data vs. stories dichotomy shows how quantitative and qualitative testing dynamically inform great UX. Pair them with powerful insights!

6 Key UX Testing Methodologies Compared

Many methodology options exist when testing UX. Which one(s) should you use? Here’s an at-a-glance overview:

MethodWhat is it?ProsConsWhen to Use
Usability TestingObserve representative users trying to complete critical tasks using your product via in-person sessions, recordings, etc.Direct feedback on improvements, quantifiable task success ratesSmall sample sizes, navigating participant schedulingEarly design concept validations
A/B TestingSend 50% of users to design A and 50% to B and analyse engagement metrics to see which performed betterEasy to set up, large sample sizes, data-drivenOnly for minor variations on the same page, no user feedbackOptimising conversion performance
First Click TestsAnalyse the links/buttons people first click when attempting a taskA quick insight into most instinctual interaction pathsThere is no feedback on why; small samples can skew dataValidating if clear first action exists
SurveysAsk 5+ questions to sample audience to uncover feelings, preferences, etc., related to UXBroad feedback, easy distribution via email or embedded in the productProvides indirect data, typically low response rates, potential sampling biasGeneral sentiment pulse checks
Focus GroupsFacilitated discussion with 6-10 users on UX topicRich qualitative data based on group dynamicsIt is hard to facilitate small samples, schedule multi-person sessionsWhen seeking wide-ranging direct user perspectives
InterviewsOne-on-one direct UX feedback sessionsDive deep into individual user mindsetsTime-intensive, small samplesUnderstand personal contexts influencing behaviours

There’s no one “right” methodology – integrate multiple approaches to gather complementary insights that inform design decisions. Now let’s explore best practices to extract maximum value from UX testing of all varieties…

10 Tips for Conducting Effective User Experience Testing Sessions

Mobile App User Experience

UX testing yields valuable insights if testing sessions are carefully planned and facilitated effectively. Here are ten tips:

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Kick Things Off Clearly

  • Welcome users, state your name/role, provide an overview of session goals, and explain you are testing the product (not them!). This frames things positively.

Make Sure Users Can Speak Freely

  • Users shouldn’t hold back on honest feedback, so encourage sharing criticisms by ensuring anonymity and reminding them there are no right or wrong answers.

Define Tasks Succinctly

  • Use natural language to define tasks simply, e.g. “Find pricing information as if you were considering purchasing.”

Get Insight On First Impressions

  • Ask users to initially explore and then describe what they notice rather than asking them to attempt specific tasks right away. Their instinctual use provides critical data.

Have Users Think Aloud

  • Get blow-by-blow perspectives by asking users to vocalise reactions, choices, confusion, etc., as they interact rather than stay silent.

Only Help When Necessary

  • It’s better to see if users struggle than guide them; only assist if progress completely halts—document where and why help was needed.

Use Actual Platforms

  • Are you testing mobile sites? Use actual phones and tablets. Fidelity to real-world conditions provides the most accurate data on challenges.

Have Dedicated Note Takers

  • Assign colleagues to take careful notes during tests focused on emotional reactions, points of confusion, etc. Free you up to engage fully.

Show Appreciation

  • Sincerely thank users for their participation and feedback after completing the session tasks. Send follow-up appreciation if appropriate.

Debrief Right After Each Session

  • While sessions are fresh in your mind, review notes, debrief with observers, and discuss key learnings. This speeds meaningful analysis.

By mastering UX testing facilitation essentials, your test sessions will yield optimal insights to elevate user experiences. Now, let’s explore analysis tactics to help prioritise discoveries…

Analysing Testing Results: Uncovering UX Optimisation Opportunities

What Is User Experience Testing

The proper analysis approach transforms observed user interactions into actionable opportunities to reduce friction and solve problems. Follow three key steps:

1. Review Session Notes & Recordings

Carefully comb through tester comments, facilitator notes, screen recordings, etc., to relive key moments of struggle, confusion, delight, etc. Look for trends and outliers.

2. Identify Optimisation Opportunities

Compile a list of issues uncovered with counts based on frequency. Then, map to specific screens/interactions. Also, indicate the severity for each based on the intensity of confusion/frustration.

3. Prioritise Opportunities

Now, determine the priority order to tackle the UX issues uncovered. Use frequency, severity, engineering effort, etc., to inform priorities. Assign action items to owners.

Sample Results Analysis Framework

UX IssueFrequencySeverityScreen/InteractionPriorityOwnerResolution Notes
Unclear checkout button12Highcart/checkout call to action1JohnMake button text more descriptive, e.g. “Proceed to Checkout.”
Confused by date selector5Mediumevent form/date field2SarahSwitch selector type, add label clarifying format

Transforming observations into well-documented opportunities makes optimisation execution more methodical. This template can help streamline analysis.

7 Effective Design Iteration Tips Based On Feedback

Armed with priority UX issues uncovered from testing, it’s time to evolve the design. Follow these tips:

1. Form Design Hypotheses

Draft 2-3 potential solutions for each significant issue framed as testable hypotheses, e.g. “Making checkout button text more descriptive will increase click-through rate.”

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2. Create Variations

Mock up the proposed design changes that reflect hypothesis solutions, like tweaking labels, adding tooltips, etc.

3. Test Iterations

Run simplified tests with 5-8 users per variation, focusing on the particular iteration to evaluate if it resolves the original confusion.

4. Declare Winners

Analyse task success rates, feedback, etc., to declare winning variations that best resolve targeted UX issues uncovered previously.

5. Expand On Iterations

Combine winning variants with additional tweaks based on richer notes from the latest sessions. Test again if necessary.

6. Roll Out Incrementally

Release UX changes incrementally via percentage rollouts. Monitor success metrics before pushing new versions to all users.

7. Rinse & Repeat

View UX optimisation as an ongoing process. Continually run new tests to find areas for improvement as new features roll out.

Avoid dramatic redesigns and gradually enhance experiences based directly on user feedback. Testing often prevents significant missteps!

UX Health Check: 5 Signals You Need More Testing

How can you diagnose when an app or site UX needs attention? Watch for these five red flags:

😟 High Bounce Rates – People leaving immediately means failing to engage users quickly.

😫 Declining Reviews – Ratings/reviews mentioning usability issues indicate growing problems.

📉 Dropping Conversion Rates – Lower sign-up, purchase or subscriber rates suggest UX friction.

🤔 Support Tickets – Spikes in questions around aspects like checkout signal confusion.

🔎 Lacking Innovation – No significant UX changes while competitors improve means falling behind.

Catch these signals early as they prompt you to invest in UX testing and research to realign with user needs before issues compound and metrics nosedive further!

Testing UX? Focus On These 5 Website Elements

Conducting broader website UX testing? Be sure to evaluate these five key components:

  • Homepage – First impressions matter! Evaluate if messaging/value prop resonates quickly.
  • Calls-to-Action (CTAs) – Do buttons use action verbs that indicate the next steps?
  • Forms/Data Entry – Simplify filling out forms that users often abandon if confusing.
  • Navigation/Menu – Can users quickly move between pages and find what they need?
  • Photos/Graphics – Is visual styling on-brand, cohesive and optimised for speed?

Scrutinising how these core elements impact the journey can uncover quick wins to streamline experiences.

When To Bring In External UX Testing Services

What Is User Experience Design

While much testing can be managed internally, outside experts like TryMata periodically provide invaluable 3rd party perspectives. Consider if:

  • More Objective Feedback Needed – Internal biases influence testing, whereas outsider viewpoints are more neutral.
  • Specific Expertise Required – For areas like accessibility, leverage specialists to surface deeper issues.
  • Bandwidth Lacking – No time for rigorous in-house testing makes outsourcing a pragmatic solution.
  • Second Opinion Desired – External confirmation that internal testing covered all the suitable bases is helpful.

Regardless of general testing practices, periodic external support tackles blindspots!

Key Takeaways & Next Steps

And there you have it – a comprehensive guide to elevating experiences via UX testing techniques! To recap critical points:

  • Test early test, often to validate designs against user expectations.
  • Balance quantitative data with qualitative insights to know what’s failing and why.
  • Carefully facilitate sessions, analyse results, and iterate on feedback for continuous optimisation.
  • Make UX testing central to product development – the ROI in engagement and conversions is immense!
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As the following steps, audit your product experiences against the red flags shared earlier to diagnose if more testing is warranted. Establish testing goals and use the methodologies overview to pick one or two techniques to pilot first. Leverage the tips in this guide to maximise what you’ll learn. Soon, you’ll be on your way to UX excellence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about maximising UX testing? Here are answers to 5 common queries:

What tasks should we focus on testing?

Prioritise testing critical conversion tasks and top user journeys where the drop-off is highest today based on analytics.

How many test users are needed per round?

Five users often uncover 80-85% of issues. Test additional users if you need more quantitative data points.

Should we only do remote and unmoderated testing?

While helpful, mix in moderated live sessions to ask follow-up questions in real time for richer insights.

How often should testing happen – once a year?

As you add new features, you will maximise impact testing far more frequently, ideally monthly or at least quarterly.

What tooling is best for session recordings/notes?

Many robust but easy-to-use tools exist, such as Maze, UserTesting, Validately, and TryMata. Read software reviews to pick based on specific needs.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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