Getting user feedback on new or existing products should be a standard part of your user experience practice. Here is an overview of the user testing process, along with answers to frequently asked questions.


What is user testing?

User testing or usability testing is a way to evalute a product with real users.

I am using the terms usability testing and user testing interchangibly in this resource because the process is similar. But the goals of these two types of testing is different. The goal of usability testing is to identify critical problems that prevent users from completing tasks/goals. The goal of user testing is to understand whether the user needs your product.

How does user testing work?

We will discuss the detailed process below, but in general, here are the three major steps:

  1. Create a plan. The research team develops a test plan which outlines the learning objectives, product being tested, and criteria for participants. They then recruit participants and setup the test.
  2. Conduct testing. The research team asks users to complete specific tasks then makes notes about what users did. Almost immediately, you can see where users encounter problems and experience confusion.
  3. Identify improvement opportunities. The research team analyzes results and summarizes their observations across all participants. They then identify treds across all groups and outline recommendations to overcome issues.

<aside> ◾ LIVE EXAMPLE. Seeing is believing. To see a user test in action, check out this Toshiba Usability Test. You can also search the web and find examples of good (and bad) usability tests.