What is user testing?
User testing is the process of knowing how the consumer will perceive your product/service and the whole experience with your brand in a controlled environment. The process generally includes observing, monitoring, and interacting with a test user to get feedback directly or indirectly. It also involves collecting behavior data when the product is software, an app, or a webpage.
User testing aims to understand the product or service usability and brand experience from the customer’s point of view. The data and the feedback collected from user testing help improve the product and the consumer experience.
Types of user testing
There are multiple methods to do user testing, and each has its scope depending on the products or services offered by a brand.
1. Usability testing
It aims to understand and evaluate the user’s experience while interacting with the product. There is a difference between user testing and usability testing. While user testing evaluates the complete experience that a consumer gets while interacting with the brand, usability testing focuses on the experience with the product.
In usability testing, when a moderator asks a test user to carry out a specific set of tasks using the product, it is called moderated usability testing. The moderator evaluates the user’s interaction and the degree of difficulty in navigating and carrying out the mentioned task. Also, a post-interview is done to understand the user’s point of view. In unmoderated usability testing, there are no specific instructions for the test user. A video recording of user product usage and behavior data is analyzed for improvement.
The purpose of usability testing is to uncover the gaps overlooked in the development stage. Also, the intention is to know whether the product is getting successfully used for the reason it was created.
2. A/B testing
A/B testing is an experiment to understand the effect of variations intended on a webpage or app. A variation of a single element on the landing page is created, then the visiting traffic is split to show the variation version and the original version called control. Metrics are tracked as per the desired goal, and a winner version is selected based on it. Similar to A/B testing, there are other methods like multivariate testing and split URL testing.
A/B testing happens at each stage of the sales funnel, and it helps in creating a better and personalized consumer experience.
A survey is one of the oldest and most utilized methods of user testing. It can be done during all the stages of a product. In the pre-release survey, the intention is to know the pain points of a consumer and the features she would like to have in the product. Post-release survey’s purpose is to understand the consumer experience and the scope of improvement.
While preparing the survey, it is important to have questions mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (MECE) with unbiased wording. Also, a mix of open and closed-ended questions in the survey is desirable. The survey must be easy to understand and take minimum time.
4. Focus group
This user testing method involves a small group of people who have similar traits or backgrounds. A moderator interacts with this group via conversation and product demonstration to take feedback and suggestions.
Focus group helps in doing user testing faster than one-to-one testing. While testing a product through a focus group, it is crucial to have a similarity between the group background and the target user base.
5. Card sorting
It is done in the early stages of user testing to make the product’s information architecture align with the user’s expectations. In card sorting, you make cards of topics that will be part of information architecture. Then you ask the test user to sort these cards and create a pile based on similarities. Once done with the sorting and piling, you ask the user to name each pile.
The whole activity’s purpose is to make categories in information architecture easy to understand for the end user.
Benefits of user testing
Here are some benefits of user testing that make it an indispensable part of the product journey.
- Makes the product more market ready and compatible with the user’s needs.
- Helps find gaps and weak points of the product in a controlled environment, preventing the unfortunate scenarios of facing dissatisfaction from the end user. It is very beneficial in this digital age; as per Amazon Web Service, 88% of shoppers avoid revisiting because of having a bad experience.
- Improves conversion rate and revenue significantly. One example is Hubstaff which utilized VWO to carry out homepage testing to increase the conversion rate by 49%.
- Helps in knowing the cognitive skills, knowledge, and preferences of the end-users, making the foundation for future product update plans.
- In product development, it is beneficial to find bugs or problems in the early stages. User testing reduces the losses from bugs that magnify after the product launch.
A/B testing with VWO
A product is never perfect as the needs and demands of consumer change like a wind. Thus, testing is an ongoing process, and a robust experimentation tool is the need of the hour. That’s why leading companies like Ubisoft, Britannica, and eBay rely on VWO for A/B testing and experimentation. Grab a 30-day free trial of all the features and capabilities of VWO, including testing.