Why User Testing Is Crucial for Your UX/UI design
User testing can make or break your product’s success. User testing, or usability testing, is the process of having users test your product in real-time. This not only discovers errors in your product but also helps you to evaluate if the product is useful and appealing to your target audience. Integrating user testing in every phase of your development and launch will help your business to succeed, and attract a loyal and returning user base.
User experience/user interface (UX/UI ) design is the process of deciding how the product looks and moves. This website and the buttons you clicked on to get here were created by UX designers who made reading this article as easy for you as possible. Imagine if the scroll bar for this article was in the middle of the screen, it would likely drive you away from the website and lead to a very low reach for this article. User testing is a crucial piece of UX/UI design so that users want to continue using your product or service, and the design decisions that go into that are essential for the design teams to be aware of.
There are different methodologies and testing phases for each product and service. You’ll want to test the market, idea, design, and product to find and target your ideal consumer base. UX research and usability tests help team members find and fix functionality or interface issues before launch. Conducting small focus groups on specific tasks and features within the product will help the product undergo usability testing with potential users.
Focus groups/user testing delivers the most relevant feedback, as it specifically evaluates the patterns and usage trends that emerge when real users engage with the application. The group can discuss problems or features they encounter with each other and share their insights of the product in a safe and small space with other users.
Testing out your design through usability tests is integral to the success of your product launch. Forbes explains how Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, invested 100 times more into user experience than advertising during the first year of Amazon. Clearly, it was a good business decision for Bezos, who is now one of the richest men in the world.
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User experience (UX) is a crucial study within the world of information architecture. The client should have the best experience possible with the information your product is providing, and their experience should be at the forefront of design strategy and planning. Within the software world, UX design is as important as development and functionality. Creating a solid UX test plan, and implementing testing tools designed for the end-user will help improve the user experience design and improve the product development process. Your product is being created to improve the lives of real users, and the test results from the user feedback will help you achieve that goal.
The user feedback received through studying user behavior in real people helps UX researchers discover usability issues in quantitative data form. Learning from this data helps researchers know how to improve the product for higher conversion rates and increase user satisfaction with the product.
The role of UX designers in software helps build a bridge between design and development by applying user research with software functionality. You can find secondary research available about your target market through third parties or studies, or you can conduct some primary research on your ideal consumer base through interviews or focus groups. You can also conduct user tests with a/b testing or surveys to test participants on product design and the user interface.
User research is not the process of simply learning the opinions of your users, but of conducting research and utilizing those facts and figures to understand the user’s needs as precisely as possible. UX research helps developers utilize the user metrics and overall user satisfaction with the current project to improve future iterations.
When UX research is neglected, product success rates go down considerably. An excellent example of this is Napster and Zune in their race against Apple. Napster was a free service compared to Apple’s iTunes, but the interface wasn’t as consistent and user-friendly. Napster also failed to see (and test) user interest in mobile music players. As Apple developed more mobile devices, and mobile-friendly music software, Napster fell behind. Instead of utilizing the valuable insights from their vast user base, Napster went their route and ended up failing as a result.
Microsoft’s attempt to compete with the Apple iPod through their Zune device shows another product design that failed due to a lack of solid usability testing. Microsoft made their software interface overly complicated and eventually lost to the beauty and simplicity of the Apple iPod. Apple’s prioritization of design and good UX in their products is one of the main reasons they continue to be so successful.
The bottom line is that good UX/UI is invisible. It utilizes designs that are built from a knowledge of the user behavior within a digital product to help real people seamlessly interact with the product. The issue arises when the consumer finds friction between how they expect to interact with the product and how they interact with the product. This friction from target users is what ultimately leads the user to dislike interacting with the product and leads to a bad experience overall.
Conducting usability testing and using strong UX research in your UX/UI designs will help avoid user friction with the product interface. If there is one thing to remember when designing any software, it’s that the user experience makes or breaks the product’s success. Prioritize your user satisfaction, and reap the benefits of a successful product launch.