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An introduction to User Testing

What is user testing?

User testing is a process in which you assign a predefined user group, assess and document their insights, behavior, and emotions toward a given page layout, design, or interaction to see if their first-hand experience aligns with the designers intended outcome.

How does user testing work?

Being a subset of UX research, user testing is typically a qualitative form of research. Your goal is to test and validate your hypothesis for a given behavior or interaction on a group of individuals that represent your target audience. Before you begin, you must first identify the following: 

  • What are your goals or desired behavior? 
  • Who is your audience? 
  • What problem or need are you trying to solve for?

The test group should directly align with the personas and segmentation you have already defined. The group is provided a design or layout—either a low-fidelity mockup or wireframe (ideal, early in the process) or near-finalized design (near-release candidate)—and is given a task they need to accomplish. The job of the test group is to try and complete their task on their own and report their findings. The job of the UX researcher is to observe and document their findings. If the data supports the UX/UI designer’s intended behavior and the task is easily accomplished, the design is validated and approved. However, if the test group struggles to complete their task, the UX/UI design needs to be readdressed and refined. In either situation, be it positive or negative feedback, valuable insight is provided to your team.

What are the benefits of smart user testing?

User testing can help alleviate uncertainty on both the behavior and effectiveness of your designs and messaging by providing you data that has been verified and proven. When used in conjunction with other UX research methods, it can provided valuable insight to both the UX teams, as well as the client to better refine your offerings and focus your messaging to your targeted audience. This will lead to higher traffic, engagement, and conversions.

What role does user testing play in your marketing strategy?

User testing is a critical piece of your marketing strategy: it allows you to ensure you are targeting the correct segments with the right solutions, as well as identify areas that need refinement to remove any unnecessary pain points.

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