Tracking user experiences and gathering quantitative data is important, but the real insights are in the qualitative data. By applying user testing you can understand how users are interacting with your experiences. This helps to better understand what improvements can be made and identify issues.
What is user testing?
User testing is a process where real users interact with a product in order to gather feedback. They record their screens and speak their thoughts out loud, so you can understand what they are thinking. User testing is the digital version of the classic focus groups. You can target the users to be ones in your target market in terms of demographics. This is a great way to quickly get high-quality, qualitative input from users.
What is the goal of user testing?
The goal of user testing is to understand if users properly understand and are interacting with the experience as intended. It’s to validate your basic assumptions and confirm that everything is going as planned.
In the planning sessions you assumed users would understand they need to hover over the image to see product options. But what happens if nobody scrolls over the image because they are distracted by an orange button in the corner? These types of insights will quickly be understood with user testing.
Example of user testing
In the example below we wanted to test whether the user understood the new user experience that we added. We asked several users to conduct a series of steps which included browsing and shopping on the website. We recorded their responses and reviewed them to find out if users understood everything.
As you can see from the video, the user indeed understood and loved the user experience. We did see that the user tried to click the profile icons – this is valuable data that we passed on to the product teams to optimize the experience.
How to perform user testing?
Conducting user recording is fairly simple. There are many platforms available that can be used to get results within a few hours. You need to define your user audience and the steps each tester should conduct.
Prices of these services vary with different business models; the most popular are:
- Pay-as-you-go: these companies charge you for every video recording you want. Prices vary from $40-$80 per video depending on the complexity of the task. This works great for companies that want to test the waters of user testing.
- Subscription: other companies offer their services as a monthly or annual subscription. This will allow your team to run unlimited user tests without worrying about the per-video price.
Below is a list of available services for user testing (updated on January 2020)
Disclaimer: we do not have any arrangements with these companies and have not used all of them. We recommend you to do your own research selecting a service provider.