Q & Answers
Why User Testing Isn’t a Waste of Money
You might be surprised at how many people see user testing as a “nice-to-have” part of the process and not a necessity for the creation of their product. When we say “user” in this context, we mean someone who is going to interact with a product or a process on a regular basis. A user deals directly with the ramifications of whether a product is built well or built poorly.
User feedback bolstered some of the biggest online brands you’ve ever heard of, like AirBnB, Instagram, Shopify, Twitter, or Yelp. Even the iPhone improved because they relied on actual users to verify it was a product that people wanted. From those examples, you’d think the user testing would be seen as vital for all projects.
Ultimately, user feedback ensures your hypothesis is correct. You may have an idea, but getting that user feedback loop going allows you to find out if you’re solving the problem the way that people actually want it solved. You might be thinking, “Once I make my product, I’ll test it on my own.” To that point, user feedback needs to start before you even begin to plan what form your product will take. Get out there early and survey the people who might use that product.
What Do I Need to Ask?
- Is the problem real?
- Will people pay to solve it?
- What are they using to solve that problem today?
- If they’re using something to solve it today, what’s wrong with what they’re using?
- Do you actually have a better way to solve this problem?
Now, if you get answers to these questions that support your hypothesis, then congratulations! You can move forward to the next phase and actually start planning out your product. Sometimes, however, you find out that your idea isn’t going to work as-is on the market. That disappointing, but it’s better to find out during the planning phase rather than once you’ve finished building the thing.
What Happens Next?
To build a prototype of your product to test with users, you can link concept screens together using prototyping software (or develop something testable if you have the means). The goal is to get something in front of users that feels real enough to them so that they can validate your hypothesis and approach. The tricky part here is not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Find users in your target demo and have them use your product like it’s the real deal. Listen to the feedback they give you. Don’t lead them, don’t guide them, don’t give them long explanations of how if they only understood what you were trying to do then they would love this interface! Just let them use it the way they would use it. Every minute of the user tester giving you feedback is pure gold. Treasure it.
So, you take all that user feedback, put it together into spreadsheets, a database, a whiteboard – whatever method you use to collect it (see our recommendations here). Now it’s time to start looking for where the consistent points are popping up. What are you doing that’s working? What are you doing that’s failing? That feedback is how you’re going to start iterating in a productive way.
So, how do you get started with all this? Give Rocksauce Studios a call at 866-981-6847 or send us an email at [email protected].com. We help our customers design and launch solutions that people will actually use.