User testing is a research method for collecting usability feedback directly from users by observing them as they interact with a product. The user follows a set of instructions while voicing their thoughts and reactions to your website or mobile app’s user experience.
This sort of feedback is unique in that it reveals a deeper layer of mental processes, showing not just how people use a product but why they are inclined to make certain choices, follow certain paths, or take certain actions.
User testing shows “Why”
This enables UX researchers and UX designers to see and understand issues in a very human way: watching users struggle demonstrates powerfully why something isn’t working.
High abandonment rates? Do some user testing, and you’ll see where people are getting frustrated and giving up hope.
Lots of the same inexplicable error? Do some user testing, and you’ll see the element that’s misleading so many to make the same wrong turn.
The value of user testing is that it allows you to listen to users, and peek into their heads in a way more intimate than any other method.
People open up when they start to lose patience with a website. In one user test our team ran, a user looking for information about an environmental non-profit’s local activities had this to say about their interactive map:
“We can see a very specific location here in Bulgaria about forestry, and then when I click it, I get a general page about forestry, not specifically about the one in Bulgaria. Again, the problem is the connection. This is not specific to what I selected in the map.”
People will talk
Users have a lot to say, most of which never makes it to the ears of the designers and the product managers. But insights like this are critical to understanding the user experience in its entirety. And user testing captures it all with video and audio.
Some feedback is highly detailed, and addresses flaws in specific elements, interactions, or flows. Other times it addresses broad conceptions of the character of the site – like in this quote from another user test we ran:
“It’s not preachy. I’m obviously concerned about environmental issues, but websites dealing with this stuff, and the environmental scientists and people on TV, can be preachy and I don’t appreciate that. I guess that’s maybe why people don’t take this issue as seriously as they should. But this website is lighthearted and quite positive, and I like the general vibe. If it didn’t have a fun atmosphere like this I don’t think people would pay attention to it.”
User testing allows us to see our products from the other side. It’s a matter of perspective: as designers and product managers, we are too close to the product, too familiar with its workings to see where it goes wrong.
Testing with real users, just sitting back and watching and listening to what they have to say, puts us back on the right track. Because ultimately, design isn’t about us; it’s about the users.
User testing with Trymata is easy as 1-2-3
Trymata (formerly TryMyUI) specializes in providing website owners, large and small, with candid feedback from people in your target audience. Our remote user testing software captures the screens and voices of people using your site so you can quickly grasp what’s working and what’s making people frustrated, lost, or confused, while collecting invaluable quantitative data that other platforms don’t.
To run your first user test with 5 respondents complete free, follow these 3 easy steps:
- Click the free trial button below.
- Sign up for your free account.
- Create your test and order the first result at no charge.
Why user testing?
It works! User testing is cost-effective to perform and, when you do it early and often, it can save you months of web development effort and thousands of dollars in expenses.
Your web developers and graphic designers, while immensely talented, aren’t like the people you’re trying to reach with your website. They think differently and speak an entirely different vocabulary. Designing sites that make sense to your “code warriors” generally produces a site that is not understandable or usable by your audience.
It takes only five users to uncover 80 percent of high-level usability problems on your website, according to Jakob Nielsen, the author of “Usability Engineering.”