For the last couple of days I have been viewing the videos from a current User Testing project. Having previously spent 14 years growing a digital agency, during which time I was deeply involved in the design and development of business critical websites and applications, I find watching User Testing videos a particularly amazing experience.
The Reality Gap
User Testing highlights the gap between what is intended and hoped for by the designers and how users really interact with, interpret, perceive and understand a solution.
Sometimes the findings from User Testing are numerous and fundamental to usability, sometimes they are few and subtle. Even when our clients make the recommended subtle refinements to their designs they improve the user experience, deepen user engagement and drive up business metrics.
From viewing User Testing videos, one thing is for sure… no matter how experienced, or skilled a designer is:
- What they expect users to notice and read on their designs is very often not what users notice and read.
- What they expect users to understand from their designs, is very often not what users understand.
- How they expect users to interact with and respond to their solution, is very often not how users interact and respond.
And here’s the problem
When users are made to stop and think, when they start to question what something means, when they are not clear what to do next, when they are a little bit unsure, the chances of them abandoning and never coming back increase dramatically. Additionally, the way they start to feel about the business or brand takes a knock.
When it comes to a website or application with any degree of complexity, I don’t believe it’s possible for a designer to sit in their studio and design an optimised user experience without involving users or testing with users. Smart designers and companies use User Testing to understand the gap between what is designed in the studio and how users really interact with something. Smart designers and companies get ahead of the competition by testing their designs, wireframes, prototypes or live website with real users, to refine and optimise their solution.
The implications of a poor UX can cause a project to underperform or fail. This can all be prevented. Be smart.
Our User Testing
Here at Userfy, we specialise in face-to-face User Testing, because it generates the deepest, most valuable insights. We invite users from the target demographic to our User Testing Suite and ask them, under controlled conditions, to undertake key journeys on a client solution. The video from each session combines screen capture that shows the on-screen actions undertaken by the participant, with an embedded video of the participants face, to show their body language and expressions, and clear audio, to capture their comments. A user research expert designs and runs the testing sessions and where necessary skillfully probes to deeply understand exactly what the participant is feeling and thinking. We then watch the videos back, constantly pausing and replaying to capture the important and insightful moments. Next, the data gathered is analysed and the findings presented back to the client with clear recommendations for where and how to improve and optimise their user experience. We test all stages of development from early designs or wireframes through to a prototype or a live website. The insights we generate from each round of testing never cease to surprise and amaze us.