User test

Why User Testing is more important than you think – and valuable to your team

7. May 2021

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When you hear the terms “user” or “prototype” testing, you probably think of software, IT or test studios with big budgets. But this can be slightly misleading. 

Every department in every company should constantly test their products and services. That goes for existing products and ones in development. The good news is that testing is neither as complicated nor time-consuming as it sounds. And to prove it, in this blog are some of ENNO’s favourite easy, light-touch User Testing methods for you to put into action straight away.

Of course you know what your customer wants... right?

Let’s be honest. Sometimes we assume what a customer wants rather than 100% know what they want. When developing a new product or service or improving something that exists, colleagues are likely to have their own idea of what needs to be done.

Maybe management has this great idea that perfectly aligns with their new strategy. Or maybe it’s the product team that thought of this super techy new feature that they can market amazingly. Back in the real world, your development team is at full capacity and is not happy about any new idea you bring to the table (nothing personal, honest!). This way, we end up compromising and create something out of thin air, trying to “make people want things” rather than to “make things people want”. So how do we prevent this?

Why testing really is that important

To truly understand and empathize with real (and potential) customers, you need to go outside your company and speak to them. User Testing is an amazing way to learn more about your customers through observations and engagement. Firstly, you can learn if you got your initial solution wrong. And secondly, you can discover if you framed the problem of your customer incorrectly to start with. User Testing validates hypotheses and/or uncovers unknown pain points that enable you to make fact-based decisions. This, in turn, helps you prioritize the right features and continuously refine your prototypes and solutions. 

When we help clients develop products, this is precisely what we do here at ENNO studio. Our approach is rooted in Agile ways of working (especially Design Thinking), an iterative process for solving human-centred problems and creating new ideas. We holistically combine the question of desirability with the questions of viability and feasibility.

• Are we creating something people need?
• Does it make good business sense?
• Is it technically feasible to produce? 

For this blog, we’re focussing on the first question around desirability. So we need to ask ourselves: how can I incorporate testing in my everyday work?

User testing is great, I agree - but… 

Now you might be saying: “This all sounds good but impossible for me to implement for my business.” Here are the common excuses for not exploring User Testing. Sound familiar?

• My teams or I don’t have time to do this, certainly not regularly.
• We don’t have enough budget for this.
• We don’t have a user testing expert on board.
• Our products and services are very complex and need to live up to certain standards, I can’t just go and test them with potential clients when they are not finished.

Our answer: User Testing isn't all that resource or time consuming AND it's doable

The easy, light-touch User Testing methods we want to focus on in this article find bugs or problems and help fixing them quickly. It allows you to get to know the potential users better and uses minimal resources. These methods don’t require expensive equipment or research laboratories, no time-consuming recruiting of testers, no paperwork and no administration. Instead, they are based on the premise that the right people are the people who are available right now. This allows for a fast, agile and lean testing process.

Even if you are developing a physical product like a particular kitchen machine, for example. You can get user feedback early by thinking outside the box. The product prototype in this example could be a landing page that showcases your new product with all its benefits and features. The product images can even be renderings if the product doesn’t exist yet. 

Now, you’re gathering feedback from real people outside your organization which helps spot whether people are interested in your idea. We can’t stress this enough: getting feedback early is our golden rule. Otherwise, you could spend time and money on something you are not sure if people want.

Ready-to-use, light-touch User Testing methods

Online ads

Test product idea and ad format in an early stage and before you launch. If it does not get any leads, then either your ad is flawed or your idea is not good enough. Investigate further.

Landing Page

Standalone pages where you display your value proposition and aim to convert to a sign-up via email or a sale. This can show the interest of the customers with the way they behave and interact on the page. Use “call to actions” (CTAs) to test user interest.

Quantitative Survey

Quick and easy, honest feedback. The shorter the survey is, the better and the more submits you’ll get.

Where to get answers?

• Social media & other networks (family & friends, …)
• Social media groups
• Quora
• Advertise your survey on social media with a small incentive
• Buy an audience (e.g. Surveymonkey)

Qualitative interviews & user tests

Interview people in person or via video call. Prepare an interview guideline based on one or several mockups or prepare an interview based on different closed and open questions alone.

Where to get answers?

• Social media & other networks (family & friends, …)
• Social media groups
• Quora
• Advertise your survey on social media with a small incentive
• Buy an audience (e.g. Surveymonkey)

A/B Testing

Test two versions of a product with a sample of users, then use the winning version. This helps to discover which performs the best in maximizing a desired outcome. Elements that can be A/B tested include subject lines for a newsletter campaign, AdWords campaigns, Outlines for a new service, colour schemes for a landing page, etc.

Learn more about our project for TEO

Crowdfunding

This means getting backers to put money into your concept before building it. Test the need for your offering and discover customer preferences. It also allows you to test your business model, such as pricing and marketing arguments. The key is to come up with a compelling elevator pitch (video, visuals, …).

Emailing

Use potential existing emailing lists of yours. Sending emails to see how many users click on the links or follow up with the email. Make sure to track the actions people are taking.

Sorting Cards

Find patterns that help to understand user priorities. Start by defining a list of priorities and then create cards with clear descriptions. Find out what matters most to your customers by having them sort topics into groups that make sense to them.

Repackage

Use a related website/product as if it were your own or repackage an existing product. If a similar idea already exists, you can use it as a quick and simple way to gather feedback. This is particularly effective when selling physical products.

Comprehension test

Does your customer understand the message of your product or service? Eliminate false-negative biases before testing commitment by evaluating comprehension. Sample sizes of your test group should generally be around 20 people and don’t need to be target customers.

How to start User Testing?

Here’s a handy checklist to help you prepare your tests accordingly:

• What do you want to test? (Verify discovered problem, Product idea as a solution to a problem, Single features, Business Model & Viability, Pricing)
• What are the underlying assumptions and built on them the hypothesis?
• Which testing method and what kind of prototype would fit best to gain feedback fast and with little resources?
• Who are your testers?
• How would you get your testers?
• How would you collect the feedback?
• What would you do with the feedback?

Need more help?

Our user testing experts are regularly supporting our clients in ongoing projects. In recent months we’ve held workshops all around prototyping and testing for HelloFresh and scholarship holders at UDK (Berlin University of the Arts), that are working on their own businesses.

It’s a beautiful thing to get creative together and see how each product and service idea can be presented as a specific prototype and how you can then test to receive first and continuous feedback. Please get in touch with us for more information.

Coming Soon!

We are still working on the website, if you want to have more information regarding this project, drop us an email.