Note: Occasionally a client may rewrite work or change it enough that I no longer feel it accurately represents the work that I did. In those cases, I keep my version here, so that you can see what my work looks like, and so that I don’t misrepresent work as mine that wasn’t. This piece was accepted and paid for by Testlio.com and edited heavily.
Understanding how users interact with your product is critical to success. Doing so early is necessary to keep development on track, and usability testing is how this is done. There are two ways to approach usability testing – moderated and unmoderated – and while unmoderated testing has its place, moderated usability testing is better for truly understanding the problems your users face.
Moderated usability testing gives you better control over tests and results, lets you fully manage the experience, and allows leveraging testing experts to design and run tests. The result is a more focused and complete look into the usability of critical components. This process is an integral part of an overall trend toward better usability, which focuses on exciting, intuitive digital experiences that users will come back to.
Why Usability Testing is Important
Moderated usability testing can be done in person or in remote sessions that allow back and forth between a participant and facilitator. This process includes planning, management, recruitment, recordings, analysis, and more. This teaches you about user behavior, identifies problems before release, and uncovers opportunities to better align with user expectations.
Often, usability testing irons out common issues that tend to get overlooked. Problems like not accounting for varying mobile resolutions, cluttered navigation, side scrolling, or confusing content can wreak havoc on usability.
This can have a major impact on the overall success of a product, because once a user base decides your app is unusable, even a fixed version may not gain traction. In fact, while many companies are tempted to skip usability testing to save money or release faster, this can lead to disaster. Not only do you risk reputational damage, you face increased cost and delay, as fixing problems in production is slower and more expensive than fixing them in dev.
The fact is, usability testing always leads to better products, with faster rollout and scale-up in the long run. Even though skipping usability testing can speed you up initially, rolling out bad products leads to more delays and higher costs overall – if not abject failure.
We’re heading into a world where consumers demand great digital experiences. Great usability which meets user needs no matter their hardware or ability shows that you care, listen, and can help. This is all but guaranteed with robust moderated usability testing, and almost impossible without it.
How to Conduct Remote Usability Testing
Remotely moderated usability testing has the advantage of being scalable and less expensive than in-person testing sessions. Testlio leverages this advantage to help clients conduct robust usability testing, and the results are always impressive.
A good remote usability testing strategy must include proper planning, management, tester recruitment, recording, and analysis. This means more than just letting users fly on their own. Great testing scenarios define exactly what you’re looking to test – whether that’s checkout, signup, onboarding, or any other discreet functionality.
Start by setting specific goals – for example, “reduce dropout during signups by 50%” rather than “make signups easier”. From there, you can clearly define criteria for testers, ask the right pre-session questions, assign the right tasks, and successfully interview participatants after testing.
In addition, good moderated testing records reactions, what users say, whether they needed help from a moderator, and notes any pertinent information about how they interact with the product. Once a session is complete, robust analysis tells you where to go from here.
If this sounds complex, it can be. It can also be overwhelming for you to handle on your own, especially if you have a small team. That’s why Testlio exists – to give you access to an expert specialist to help you conduct quality usability tests and get the outcomes you want.
Usability Testing Plan
Setting up a usability test involves carefully creating a test scenario based on your current testing goals. The classic moderated usability test structure includes the following steps:
- Identify your target audience – age, gender, location, usage habits, and tech familiarity.
- Conduct pre-session interviews. Ask about lifestyle, background, tech habits, and other interests.
- Proceed with actual testing tasks. These tasks should be pre-selected based on the goal of the test session. During this stage, record testers to get their vocal reactions in the moment as well as facial expressions and other physical actions.
- Conduct post-session interviews. Get testers’ opinions and general thoughts on the product, as well as issues they encountered.
- Analyze results and write a test report. This is your opportunity to look for patterns and apply data analysis tools to your results.
Before you open testing to a broad group, try running a pilot test with one or two test participants to ensure your test structure works. Once you’ve ironed out the procedure, scale up with a remote QA testing team and a bigger testing pool.
Finally, to ensure the best results, consider collaborating with an expert testing team like Testlio. If you’re ready to find out how much Testlio can improve your testing process, request your free demo today.