user testing

The Role of User Testing in UX Design

This is a guest post by Sergi Panes from Origi

UX (user experience) testing is testing your design prototype on real users before finally making it available to all. This design phase helps you capture how your target audience reacts to your prototype and gives you feedback on what needs improvement. With the information and insights gathered during this phase, you can fine-tune your design to achieve a satisfactory result.

Top Mistakes When Designing a Webpage

When designing a webpage, there are many things to consider to achieve a cohesive website that meets all design goals and delivers ease of use. Most importantly, there are errors and pitfalls to be avoided at all costs.

These are some of the most common webpage design mistakes to be avoided.

Bad Communication

A complicated website layout with poor communication can be a great turnoff for users and make for a negative user experience. Your website should clearly communicate what your site and product are all about, without users clicking endlessly to get the message.

It is vital that users can navigate your website and find what they require in the shortest time, so it is best to structure your website design around customer needs to avoid confusion or frustration. Also, do not assume that all users will readily understand what your website offers. So incorporate a customer feedback section in your webpage design where you will communicate with users from time to time.

Finally, ensure that visitors can instantly capture the essence of your website and how they can benefit from your services.

Weak CTAs

Webpage calls to action (CTAs) are necessary for guiding customers to carry out a specific action, and a website with weak calls to action is not living up to its full potential. When your website cannot guide customers with clear and precise CTAs, that means that the purpose of that website is not being fully utilized. And that will lead to lower sales, conversions, and opt-ins. To avoid unclear or ineffective CTAs, an unmistakable CTA button should be positioned above the fold. It must address the most common user concerns and clearly communicate the problems it aims to solve!

Too Much Information and Website Elements

It is common practice for design teams to get overly enthusiastic about how much they want to include on their sites, forgetting that clarity is essential to webpage design. Too much information and too many website elements will slow down a webpage, confuse and overwhelm users, and give your UI a cluttered look.

A good website lets users scroll through intuitively and freely without wading through clutter. To provide a simple but quality browsing experience, avoid content overload and incorporate negative spaces. Also, prioritize the most important elements, use fewer fonts and colors, and go easy on buttons, images, and media content so they don't compete for space and attention.

Unresponsive Website

An unresponsive website immediately loses half – if not more – of its viewership, because it is not modified for different devices. Since your website will most likely be viewed on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, etc., your web design must be structured to display brilliantly on different screen sizes.

During the design stage of your website, display and interface on all devices must be a priority and not an afterthought.

Ensure that your website is responsive to all devices to avoid losing out on sales, conversions, and traffic.

Top Benefits of UX Testing

Helps to Understand User Needs

To make your website more user-friendly, do UX testing. This will help you understand your target users' needs and you will benefit significantly from the feedback. Understanding and serving your users needs will help your company grow.

Helps You Make Better Design Decisions

UX testing helps designers create better prototypes. If you aren't sure how people/target users will receive your design or prototype or react to it, run a usability test and get the results you need for a better design decision that is customized for your target users to yield the desired results.

Enhance Your Products or Services

Providing a product or service for a target group of people without knowing if it will be useful to them is the surest way to a massive failure. So instead of taking a shot in the dark, conduct UX user testing. This will enable you to create and enhance your products or services to suit your target users perfectly and provide a satisfactory result.

Find Issues and Resolve

Not only does UX user testing help you create the perfect user experience, it also helps you detect any design flaws and correct them before taking the product to the market. Prototyping and testing is a huge part of designing or creating any product or service intended to serve the public. And by catching potential errors and usability issues in time, you ensure that the product you eventually launch is as bug-free and user-friendly as possible.

Discover How Your Users Interact with Your Site

Of course, before the design phase of your creation, you should have done surveys and initial user research to help you get started. That said, you can never be sure how actual users will interact with your site. So, no matter how convinced you are of your design process, the only way to know how users interact with your site is by conducting UX testing and uncovering new insights.

Best User Testing Methods in Design Thinking

A/B Testing

A/B is a user testing method that compares two different design versions. In A/B testing, you create two different prototypes with each version being tested on two different sets of users. The A/B method can be used at any stage of the design process, using either a paper prototype or a clickable digital one.

When doing A/B testing, only test one variable at a time to get clear results. For example, test two different layouts, CTA buttons on certain screens, etc. Most importantly, test them on two sets of users.

Concept Testing

Concept testing is carried out early in the design process. At this stage, you test your initial ideas and concept before turning them into designs. Concept testing can be in the form of a low-fidelity prototype, such as a simple sketch or static images, that will be used to communicate your ideas to your target users and get their feedback.

Usability Testing

Usability testing basically lets you know how easy your design is to use. It is an essential testing method that should be carried out throughout the design process. However, it is mostly an observational exercise where you will ask users to complete tasks and observe how they do them.

During the observation process, you will see which design aspects are problematic for users and are less user-friendly. This is how you will identify the usability issues you will fix in your next prototype.

Tree Testing

Tree testing is a user testing method in which you provide your information architecture to your target users and see how easily they can locate specific items. Once you have gathered the information architecture of your digital product, you will present the user with a "tree" of information that mimics what your site menu will look like and ask them to find an item. You can gauge the user experience by how easily they locate the item. It can either be done in person using paper prototypes or remotely.

First-Click Testing

When designing an app or a website, it is important to ensure that users carry out the intended action when they land on your page and this is why first-clicking test is critical. The first-click test lets you see the users' first actions when they encounter an interface on your website, like the first places they click.

This helps you determine how to prioritize elements such as buttons, icons, menu items, visual elements, etc. It will also help you know what kind of language works best for your buttons and labels.

Guide to User Testing

Whatever method you choose, specific steps must be followed when carrying out user tests.

Set Your Goals

In user testing, the first thing to do is set clear goals and objectives to guide you better. For instance, what questions do you hope to answer from your user testing? What do you want to capture from your users? Setting a clear and achievable goal will help you streamline your prototype, build the right kind, and also help you pick the most suitable user testing method.

For instance, if you are designing a photo-sharing site, your goal might be to find out the most popular image format users prefer when downloading images from the site!

Build Your Strategy to Follow

It is essential to create a strategy for user testing to maintain consistency throughout the process. Your strategy should also include your goals and objectives, the method you intend to use to test your prototype, the number of users you will test or question, the equipment required, how you will record your data, etc. If your chosen method permits, you may want to create a script to help you keep your user testing session focused.

Create a Prototype

When you know what to test, it is time to build a prototype. Again, it is best to use low-fidelity prototypes in the early stages of testing an idea, then move up to mid and high-fidelity prototypes once the concept has come together and you want to add finer details such as information architecture and microcopy.

Find Participants

Finding the right participants is a crucial aspect of user testing. You want to ensure that your participants are the same as your target users. For instance, if you are creating a website that will benefit moms, it wouldn't make sense to run tests on just any random female.

Collect the Data

Collect the data and document your findings throughout the entire testing process because the record will help you analyze your observations closely and compare results from each session.

Test Your Page

At this point, your user testing has been done and you have completed the first stage of your design. Now, test your page's design prototype to see how users react to it, then collect the feedback. This stage is important before launching your page to ensure that what you put out to the public is free of bugs and bottlenecks and serves your target users well.

Improve Your Webpage

The feedback you collected from your initial UX testing should guide you in making the necessary changes to improve your page and give your target users precisely what they need.

Never Stop Improving

In conclusion, user testing is a critical phase in UX design because that is the only way to ensure you create a product or service that will serve its target users and make better design decisions for a seamless user experience! However, improving a webpage is not done in the developmental stages alone; from time to time, carry out user testing to ensure your webpage stays on track!

sergiSergi Panes is SEO Specialist and the Co-Founder of Origi Agency.

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