A Quick Guide to UX Testing by@paveltahil
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A Quick Guide to UX Testing

by Pavel TahilJanuary 30th, 2023
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Depending on what you are creating - a new project for the bank lobby, a website, a mobile device, or a script - you will use different testing methods dedicated to a particular concrete decision. Here we are describing an approach to testing in general: which aspects to pay attention to before, during, and after testing.
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UX Testing: Why do we need it?

On more than one occasion, you probably have noticed that the planning and implementation processes do not always match up. Thus, by implementing something you have thought about, you could observe that things did not always go how you thought they would, and you would now have to make changes whether you liked it or not. The Testing stage is a capstone stage before the launch of a new product, service, or user scenario.

This stage is built around drawing our stakeholders into the process of creating and evaluating the result to confirm the following:

  • Whether the prototype works like we were planning;
  • Whether our prototype responds to user needs;
  • Whether the user experience causes the user to have the desired reaction.

Do not worry about admitting your mistakes and oversights in the esting stage.

This stage is needed to minimize the risk of malfunctions during the actual launch. Admit it; it is much less scary to lose a little bit of money and time creating a prototype that did not work like you expected than to invest enormous resources - finances, time, and people - in making a real product that does not serve its purpose.

Prototyping and testing go hand in hand.

A prototype is a hypothesis that does not have significant value unless we have checked it by testing. The trial and error method is how the Testing stage should flow. You will find shortcomings in your prototype, correct them, and test them once again until the result reflects the problem you set up.

At the end of the stage, you should receive a working prototype and ensure that all of your hypotheses are confirmed. You will most likely have to present your idea and convince people responsible for bringing it to fruition that your solution is strategically correct and is a worthwhile investment of resources. You should use your presentation skills to instill confidence that your answer is well thought out and will work by fitting in organically to the overall strategy of your bank's development.

What to do in this stage:

  • Put together a new testing plan
  • Determine all stakeholders that will participate in testing, and also the context - the place where testing will be conducted
  • Determine the budget, the time constraints, the team that will conduct the testing, and the necessary materials
  • Determine the criteria for evaluating test results
  • Conduct the testing
  • Analyze the results

Depending on what you are creating - a new project for the bank lobby, a website, a mobile device, or a script - you will use different testing methods dedicated to a particular concrete decision. Here we are describing an approach to testing in general: which aspects to pay attention to before, during, and after testing.

At the beginning of the Testing stage, you should have created prototypes and determined the prototype variables you will test. During testing with the users, you will need to assign roles and responsibilities within their team. We will use the Testing Matrix method to systematize and evaluate testing results.

Testing with the user

Testing with the User is an indispensable part of a human-oriented approach to designing new products and services. Such testing is necessary to make necessary corrections to the prototype and allow the people for whom the product or service is being created to understand it better.

Testing should be considered an opportunity to see a user's reaction to the prototype we created and to evoke empathy - finding something new about the user's life and needs.

Before testing, one must provide the following:

  1. A prototype. Think about how you will use the prototype during testing. If your prototype is a user scenario, then think about attracting those who will enact the roles written in your script.
  2. Testing scenario and context in which you will conduct the testing. Test in the context where you can receive the maximum amount of information about your prototype. The best option is to test in real conditions. If not possible, try to recreate an analogous situation as accurately as possible. For example, when creating a new procedure for a teller to fill out documents, allow him or her to follow the old and new procedures. After this, you can compare the results. Or, imagine that you are testing several functions on a mobile device. Think about what context the user may require to use a certain function.
  3. We are working with the user. How will you communicate with the user during testing while directing this process? Which of the representatives in your group of stakeholders will participate in testing?
  4. I am observing, receiving, and recording. Information during testing. Who will be observing? How will you record the information? Would it be appropriate to make a recording on a video or a tape recorder?

Roles and responsibilities:

During testing, distribute responsibilities between team members so that each person has his or her own set of tasks:

  1. The Host. You must help the user understand what and how they must work, introducing them to your prototype and the user scenario. One does not have to describe the user scenario in detail: allow the user to understand this in the interaction process. As the host, you will most likely ask all the questions during and after testing.
  2. The Players. The need to perform several roles will likely arise when you are recreating the user scenario - for example, performing a situation in a branch lobby (or "operations room") for private individuals.
  3. The Observers. It is essential that team members who are not engaged in other roles can simply observe how the user interacts with the prototype and take notes. You can record the testing session on a video camera if there are not enough people.

The testing process:

  1. Allow the users to experience the prototype in action. Show more than you explain. Put the prototype in the user's hands (if it is a physical object) and allow him or her to find out how to use it on their own.

    Do not explain why you made the prototype in one way and not the other. When the prototype is given in Bodystorming for testing a new process, leave it up to the user to understand which steps to take during testing. Other participants in Bodystorming should react to the user's actions without telling them the steps.

  2. Ask the user to talk about what is happening. For instance, you may ask what they are thinking about when completing a certain operation. Ask the user to share his or her impressions.

  3. Observe actively. Observe how the user works with the prototype — correctly and incorrectly. Do not correct him or her immediately.

  4. Conclude with questions. Sometimes questions are the most important part of testing. Do not ask questions about whether the user likes your prototype or not. Ask questions that can help you understand whether the prototype serves the purpose you set up.

    "Can you show me why this works and not that?"

    "Could you tell me about how you felt at a certain moment of the testing session?"


    Answer questions with questions. What do you think about how this button should work?

Testing matrix

Why do we need this method?

The testing matrix will help evaluate and systematize the users' reactions during testing. You can use this method to evaluate the process while working on your prototype in the team and during the actual testing session with users.

Why do we use this method?

  1. Divide a sheet of flip chart paper into four quadrants.
  2. Draw a plus sign "+" in the top left quadrant, a minus sign "_" in the top right quadrant, a question mark "?" in the bottom left, and an exclamation point "!" in the bottom right quadrant.
  3. Fill out all four quadrants with the information you received during testing. Everything that the user liked, as well as everything that seemed significant to him or her, go up into the top left quadrant. Constructive criticism goes in the top right. All questions that came up during testing will go into the bottom left quadrant, while all ideas that came up into the bottom right. Look at what could affect user behavior (this could be anything at all: weather conditions, the season, location, and so forth) to evaluate it objectively. Think about what corrective measures you must introduce to your product.

In the testing stage, you can discover what you need to return to in previous stages. For instance, you may determine that you missed something when you were thinking about how your system would work or you did not have enough information about your client and his or her behavior in a specific context. Do not be afraid to go back and fill in the gaps. At the end of this stage, you should confirm all of your hypotheses regarding the prototype:

  • Make sure that the prototype works as you planned.
  • Find out if it responds to client needs.
  • Understand if the user experience causes the user to have the desired emotional reaction.