So you've built out a new website or landing page, and you're excited to show it to the world. Your colleagues, friends, and family think that your new creation is awesome - and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You're thinking that you might be ready to launch..
DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER WITHOUT USER TESTING!
Here at Delegator, we preach the gospel of thorough and unbiased user testing. In fact, we have distilled our approach to using a singular partner (most of the time) that we really enjoy working with, because they have a great platform: UserTesting.com.
Simply signing up for their service, however, isn't enough to get you the actionable data you need to properly optimize your new site.
Here are four best practices that will allow you to user test efficiently and effectively:
Get involved in, first hand, user testing videos AND analysis sessions:
User testing is one of the most important pre-launch protocols. If you are a decision maker, there is no substitute for first hand consumption of user testing content. If you pass the task off through multiple degrees of separation, you are opening yourself up to multiple layers of bias. Instead, consume the user tests first hand to see for yourself EXACTLY how people interact with your site.
Do not make definitive conclusions based on just a couple of user tests:
Although you may feel that a random user test is providing you with a goldmine of actionable data, temper your eagerness to make changes with the understanding that one or two tests are not statistically significant relative to hundreds of site visitors. If multiple users tests start revealing similar faults or potential enhancements, AND your team agrees with said faults, you should probably feel safe making that change.
Find the right balance between instruction specificity and freedom:
Unless you want your user tester to be floundering around the site with no clear direction, be specific in dictating to the tester who they are, and what their goal is. Don't, however, instruct them on every step they need to take to reach the goal. You want your user tester to best emulate your actual customers. You, unfortunately, won't be able to instruct each customer on how to use your website step by step, so take that into account during your UserTesting.com session setup.
Use the convenient annotations feature of UserTesting.com for efficient & effective sharing:
You'll want to share the user testing intel with your team members. Since the tests are delivered in the form of a narrated video and can often be quite long, take a pass through the videos and annotate the important revelations. This way, other team members can quickly scan the video and watch the important parts where your tester might be stumbling, or (hopefully) completing tasks with ease.
Delegator is an official partner of UserTesting.com and can help you set your account up, work through your testing, and analyze the tests to form actionable recommendations. Contact us here if you would like to learn more!