User testing

User testing is a vital ingredient for creating and optimising your website – it tests how users react to your website, whether they can complete key tasks or goals as well as how they find the overall experience.

Benefits of user testing

Direct, specific feedback from relevant users

User testing gives you a direct conduit to your target audiences to find out how they interact with your website and where they experience problems completing a task.

By carefully selecting participants that fit with your customers' profiles, we ensure that the results are relevant and useful.

Unlocking the context behind the data

The phrase 'big data' has become ubiqitous in digital. While quantitative data at scale can be extremely valuable at revealing trends and patterns of user behaviour, it often cannot answer the most important question - 'why'?

User testing helps to provide the qualitative data, adding the context and meaning to the numbers. Why did a user make that choice? What influenced their behaviour? Why couldn't they find the information they needed?

Challenge assumptions and preconceptions

One of the biggest dangers in working to improve a website is that we become overfamiliar with it. When we know how the site works and where information is found, it's easy to overlook problems that your users regularly encounter.

Making major decisions based on assumptions is a risk. Putting those assumptions to the test can deliver the reassurance needed to press ahead - or the reality check that indicates a different solution.

Validate findings from other research

Sustainable user research relies on a mix of different techniques, and user testing is just one of these. One source of insight often isn't enough to give confidence in a specific solution. Equally, two or more sources can conflict.

The hands-on nature of user testing makes it a good method of validating what your research has told you. Is user behaviour consistent with the feedback gathered through surveys or interviews, for example?

Would user testing benefit your business?

Methods of user testing

We use a mix of different methods depending on the needs of our clients and the objectives of the testing.

Participants are asked to perform tasks on your site while an expert moderator observes their behaviour. The moderator is on-hand to ensure that the user understands what's being asked of them, is at ease, and isn’t ‘led’ in any way. This type of testing also gives us the opportunity to interview the participant to find out more about their behaviour and motivations, providing a real insight into the needs of users beyond how they interact with the website.
In unmoderated remote testing, the participant follows instructions on a screen, so has no interaction with a moderator. Participants are encouraged to ‘think out loud’ and provide a commentary of their actions as they try to complete each task. The main advantage of remote over moderated testing is that it generally makes it much quicker to recruit participants and turn tests around.
Participants are asked to run through tasks by a moderator while in the comfort of their own home. This type of testing takes place using screen sharing or video conferencing software to allow for a two way conversation. While this lacks some of the interpersonal element of testing in-person, this type of testing enables us to run moderated tests with users no matter where they are in the world, ideal for testing international websites.

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