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10 Most Popular User Testing Methods Of 2022

A/B Testingconcept testingeye trackingeye tracking testsprototype testingusability testinguser testuser testinguser testing methodswebsite user testing
Updated November 19, 2021 Adela

Every entrepreneur or business owner has one goal in mind – build a solution that solves a user problem. But, for your idea to be successful, there are two aspects you should keep in mind regardless of your industry:

  1. Your solution is simple and easy to use so your users are encouraged to adopt it quickly;
  2. When you develop your platform, it should have as few errors as possible, and the errors that exist, do not break the user flow.

 

So, how can you make sure you meet both of these goals? With user testing, of course!

 

User testing allows organizations to gain insight into customer experience by receiving early, real-time feedback from real users. However, why is user testing so important?

 

To give you just one simple reason, user testing is essential because 76% of customers will change brands if they have just one bad experience.

 

So, yes, in order to measure the performance and usability of your future application or website, it is vital to conduct user testing. And remember, despite it being primarily used in user-centered design, user feedback is valuable across all types of design.

 

How does user testing work?

In a nutshell, during user testing, you gather participants and ask them to provide you with feedback on your wireframes, prototypes, app, or website. Sometimes, you can do this with volunteers, other times you will have to provide them with an incentive, like a discount, or even a monetary reward.

 

Regardless, through user testing, your aim is to collect honest feedback on how your future or existing platform feels, looks, and performs in the eyes of your real users. But remember, when you conduct users tests:

  1. Not every price of feedback needs to be incorporated – discuss it with the team, prioritize together and decide to proceed only with the most crucial changes;
  2. It’s never personal – when you work for a long time on designs or building a platform, you tend to get attached – it’s only human. So, when you receive feedback, especially anonymous or unmoderated feedback, remember it’s about the user, not you or your work.

 

 

1. Usability testing

During usability testing, you have the best chance of evaluating your new system’s effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction. 

 

Obviously, there are various forms of usability testing. Thus, based on resources such as target audience or test objective, you choose the type of test.

 

Among the most common types of usability testing are:

 

Moderated testing

Whether you performed it in-person or remotely, involves researchers introducing the test, answering participants’ questions, and asking them to follow up. A moderated testing setting involves researchers and participants interacting directly, creating in-depth results. 

 

However, it can be costly to organize and conduct (e.g., you need to hire a researcher, set up a location, and compensate participants).

 

Unmoderated tests

Take place without direct supervision or follow-up; participants could be in a definite place, but, in most cases, they would be browsing the website under testing from home. While this type of test offers a lower cost, participant responses are superficial since there is no way to follow up.

 

While a moderated approach is efficient if you want to examine user behavior, an unmoderated approach is more effective for testing specific questions.

 

2. Concept testing

Any time you have a great idea, you need to find out if the public will use it. And concept testing is the right tool as it helps you to evaluate a new product’s acceptance by consumers. In addition to revealing and refining strengths, it also identifies weaknesses that may lead to potential failures.

 

Ideally, concept testing should take place early in the product development process, as users rate your website or app based on factors such as liking, confusion, innovation, benefits vs. cost, usability intent, etc. Also, this user testing method can be done individually, or with a group, remotely, or in person.

 

3. Card sorting

During card sorting, participants show how they expect to interact with your website or app based on its navigation and layout.

 

Usually, you should use card sorting early in the design process to help validate concepts. But this user testing method is also useful when you have completed the basic information architecture and wish to refine it further.

 

Card sorting visual; User testing visual
Source: Ryte Wiki

 

While card sorting can be done in person or remotely, there are three methods to choose from:

  1. Open Card Sorting  Users sort navigation items by creating categories and labels on a site in order to make navigation easier.
  2. Closed Card Sorting – In this case, the testers only identify where the navigation item belongs since the categories have already been defined.  
  3. Semi-Open/ Semi-Closed Card Sorting  Participants are required to start either with open card sorting or with closed card sorting. Users are allowed to change the name of the categories and add or remove them.

 

4. Tree Testing

Would you like to get users’ opinions on a proposed site structure? The tree testing method is just what you need!

 

A tree test asks users to find items based on how a website is structured and spelled out.

 

While using tree testing, you can show users a menu structure in its most basic version, without worrying about the layout and design. Through the site structure, the user can find items by completing several tasks.

 

Usually, tree testing lasts for about 15-20 minutes. Since most users will lose focus if a task takes too long, you will typically have 15-20 tasks per session. In order to measure how easy it is for users to find items and the website structure, you use this method.

 

5. A/B Testing

A/B testing is an effective way of seeing which online design and marketing strategy will work best. Simply put, it helps you find out which of your ideas is the most popular among your website or application users.

 

This test requires creating two variations of the same piece of content and splitting the audience into two groups. Then, each group accesses one version of the content.

A/B Testing visual, User Testing visual
Source: Optimizely

 

One of the versions is the control version, which is usually the existing version of your website, while the other is the variation version, which is a new version. The control page receives half of the users’ traffic, while the variations page the other half, each being evaluated and compared.

 

The differences between the two variants can be as significant as you want, there is no rule concerning the differences. For example, one headline or button can be changed, or the entire page may be completely redesigned.

 

6. First-click Testing

First-click testing is a great way to improve your website or app designs. Particularly, this test allows you to pinpoint where the user clicks on the screen when interacting with a website or application.

 

In order to succeed at any task, you need the first click to be successful. While there is an 87% chance to complete the task if the first click is correct, if it’s incorrect, there is only a 46% chance of completing the task.

 

Moreover, results of first-click testing can help you determine if your customers can quickly and easily find what they’re looking for once they’re on your website, and if not, where they click instead.

 

First-click tests consist of a task presented to the participant, followed by an interface image that they must click to complete the task. In addition, the position and duration of their click are recorded.

 

If you are interested in receiving additional feedback at the end of the test, you can simply ask the user why they clicked where they did. For example, you can ask:

  • what attracted their attention
  • did they find what they expected when they clicked or not,
  • was there any elements that they disliked

 

7. Beta Testing

Did you do your research, identify the needs of your users, and develop your website according to the rules? OK, now there’s no need to rush. Before the website is launched, you must thoroughly test it. Hence, it’s time for beta testing.

 

Beta tests are an essential component of website development, as they ensure an error-free user experience once the website is complete. More importantly, it involves real users in real environments.

 

Beta Testing visual; User Testing visual
Source: Avira

 

The beta testers are selected and they use the site for a specified period. Generally, beta tests help you discover whether users are able to use the site and whether they understood and utilized all its features.

 

As the users report bugs and any issues they encounter, you may use their feedback to improve the website. Furthermore, beta testing gives feedback on which features should be added or avoided, as well as answers to technical questions.

 

8. Focus Group Testing

The focus group testing involves 6-9 participants. In this method, your website or app is evaluated according to the views and opinions of participants. Taking into account that participants discuss the user interface features during this test; it is best if you do it during the strategy phase of a project.

 

Generally, a test lasts for about two hours while a moderator keeps the focus on the topic. More specifically, it allows you to determine what users want from a website by identifying themes in a data set.

 

A big downside is that often leads to biased results. Extroverts and persuasive individuals tend to suppress the voices of reserved people, which influences the results of the test.

 

9. Survey

Surveys are a great way for you to collect quantitative data from a large number of users in a short period. Generally, surveys consist of questions that collect information on a wide variety of topics.

Survey visual; User Testing visual
Source: Pixabay

 

Moreover, it can be conducted both in-person and remotely. Its characteristics include:

  • Cost-effective, since you can develop it yourself and there are no usage charges
  • Fast and easy as, in case of need, it can be both created and distributed within a day
  • Easy to collect feedback from a broad range of respondents
  • Cannot gather quality insights and
  • Understanding usability problems is also not possible

 

10. Eye Tracking Testing

An eye-tracking test observes the user’s eye movements while accessing a website. The method analyzes where users click or hover while completing tasks by producing heatmaps or pathway diagrams.

 

Specifically, it helps you identify what catches the users’ attention, their eyes’ paths, how the users look when interacting with the website.

 

In eye-tracking testing, physiological insights are revealed without requiring direct contact with users. Businesses may use this data to determine which sections of their websites will attract the most users.

 

Final thoughts

Briefly, user testing refers to the process of gathering insights about the website from a group of real users. More precisely, user testing reveals how real users interact with your website and offers suggestions on how to improve it.

 

Creating average products won’t guarantee business success in today’s competitive world. Therefore, only products with outstanding customer experience will have the power to win customers’ loyalty.

 

User testing has a variety of benefits such as gathering insights about users’ preferences, saving time and costs, and allowing to identify where there are bugs or flaws. Above all, the finding of preferences and bugs facilitates improvement and can help with having more traffic on the website.

 

And remember, if you are still unsure which user testing method you should use, or you need more assistance, you can book a free consultation with our project management expert team, and we will provide you with the guidance you deserve.

 

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