User testing is a highly-effective, popular way of uncovering any problems that might exist within your website or application. In addition to discovering issues with your site, user testing also helps to create empathy with your users and so it’s a win-win for each party. But what is user testing , how can you recruit people to test your website and when should you do it?
In short, user testing is a thorough process whereby the functions and interface of websites, applications and services are rigorously tested by real people under realistic conditions. The user will be asked to carry out specific tasks and then report back regarding overall usability and performance.
In order to produce accurate and reliable results, the users should not be regularly directed and should simply be allowed to navigate their way around the website, for example, as freely and as naturally as possible.
Important things to know about user testing:
When looking to recruit people to carry out user testing on your site, it’s important that you choose individuals who are as close to your demographic or target audience as possible. For the most accurate and relevant results, your participants should have the same needs as your current users.
For example, if you’re testing a new website for university use, then you’ll want to test it on students and/or prospective students alike. It might take some time to recruit the most ideal participants, but you’ll soon be reaping the benefits when you find a group that seamlessly reflects your target audience or demographic.
This is a common question when it comes to user testing. Should you test before you put your new website live or afterwards? In short, you should do both. Have users test your website or application when it’s in its final stages but before it goes live to the public and then test it again after it goes into the public domain.
But then again, you don’t want to wait for the ship to sail, so to speak, when you could iron out problems before it reaches the final stages in development. So you’ll want to have user testing conducted throughout various stages of production. Essentially, as soon as the website becomes usable, in whatever capacity, then you should have it user tested as soon as possible.
Let’s say you have it tested three or four times, three before it goes into the public domain and once afterwards, you want to make sure that you have a different group every time. But make sure they’re still relevant to your target audience otherwise you may end up with inconsistent results as opposed to steady feedback.
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As an experienced Copywriter, Lorna enjoys creating varied content for an abundance of different industries and sectors. From detailed, informative articles to creative infographics, she's always looking to inject originality into the work she produces. When she isn't working, Lorna runs her own lifestyle blog, plays the guitar and loves to take part in charity runs.