User Testing: Slow Down to Move Faster
User testing is of utmost important in the application development market, but it is often conducted once the app has been fully developed. The resourceful engineers, developers and programmers at the house of Snikpic believe in testing the application at every step of the way.
We believe in validating our applications and evaluating their overall performance at every step. A concurrent user testing allows our researchers and developers to understand the amount of resonance between the application and user requirements, appeals and needs.
The General Approach Towards User Testing
We believe in knowing the direction of our course beforehand. We ensure that we are on the right track before it’s too late. Testing user requirements and response towards the application doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.
However, the following guideline can be treated as a general and cursory approach towards user testing. You can modify the approach to better suit your business needs, but the overall crux of the approach remains the same.
1. Frame and Test Your Hypotheses
One of the earliest demands of custom application development is to understand the user requirements before the project is kicked off. Formulation of a list with all the right and relevant questions is a must at the beginning of the development cycle.
Sit down together with your team and determine the things or factors that they are unaware of. Once you understand the things that they don’t know about, you can try to uncover any knowledge gaps your team has. When you have a healthy list of unknowns, you’ll be in better shape to frame hypotheses to test and your final questions.
The final questions truly uncover the true shape and life of the application you want to develop. These questions can help you better understand the nature of the application that you have been assigned to design, develop and test. Understand it before the project, and it will illuminate the right path for proper development.
2. Introduce Theatrical Touch to Testing Sessions
Instead of asking routine and monotonous question series to the users, introduce the touch of flair and use scripted questions with prototypes to engage the users.
- Prototype: Bringing a prototype for user testing greatly enhances the overall outcome of the process. Furthermore, the final questions and the hypotheses developed in the last step should be converted into actionable statements. These help you put together non-leading questions around those statements, so your script feels like a conversation rather than a monotonous torture.
- Observable Goals: The app development team at Snikpic also creates a list of observable goals for the testing process. You will determine the impact and direction the development course and application by observing the invalidating or validating response from the user. You can also observe them completing a pre-determined task for you and understand their reaction to the developed feature.
- Wrap Your Script in Context: You should wrap your script and prototype in some context to give it more meaning. It will feel natural and organic this way. Include a backstory to the feature you are testing, and the users will feel relatable to the underlying feature. Our app development team has had a lot of experience in this field, and their examples can be used to draw a general outline for your context. We ask a restaurant loving user to imagine themselves craving for some tasty Italian pasta and ask them if they can find a proper restaurant. This gives context to the users and simulates feelings.
3. Observe, Observe and Then Observe Some More
Observation is among the most crucial elements in user testing. No testing is ever complete or accurate without thorough, relevant and proper observing. So, let’s break down the observation process, perks and benefits.
Push to have entire cross-functional teams (product management, design, engineering, research, marketing, custom application development team and support) attending these kinds of testing. This activity will give them a first-hand look at the customers’ reaction and behavior towards the application. The app development team at Snikpic considers this a beneficial opportunity, and we observe how customers do certain things and watch them run into roadblocks. Seeing this as a group will align your thinking quickly so everyone has a better idea of major issues that need to be fixed.
In order to get concrete results, you should inform the involved users that it is not them that we are testing, but it is the prototype. This way, the users will relax and focus more upon the prototype presented to them for testing. Tell them to be vocal with their thoughts when they are testing the product, so you can hear the issues at every step of the testing.
Record everything from the users’ faces, reactions to the screen of your product. The recordings will later on allow you to go over the interviews again to find out if you missed anything the first time.
To gather our observations, we used a spreadsheet which we formatted to specify the tester info, type of testers (influencer or business), the observed pain points, related prototype screen and some eventual suggestions from the tester.
4. Focus On the True Goal
Use the collective, individual and unique customer pain points to highlight the priorities. Understand what they want the most and what was the most painful point for all the users across interviews. The user testing experiments and interviews allow you to see what the majority of the population (of your focus) want and what is the biggest and the most painful feature of the application.
Use these observations to enrich your second development cycle and rectify the pain points. Develop the application the way users want and focus more upon the key features that user liked and demanded the most.
These theme clusters will be the takeaways from your research efforts. You will be then ready to engage with your whole team to list suggestions while taking into account different kinds of constraints, such as UI/UX, technical, timeline, etc.
Eventually, you will develop a new prototype and not wait too late before performing a new sprint of user testing. The collected observations allow you to continuously improve your prototypes and features before going through another round of user testing. Let observations from the previous step help you illuminate the points that really matter. Prioritize the development of these features and focus on what really matters.
In A Nutshell
User testing should be considered not as an afterthought, but as an important part of the entire development cycle. Modern agile practices paint the testing process as the key feature of a good custom application development.
However, the process of the user testing can vary from client to client and may depend upon the necessary requirements of the users. The above-mentioned guideline is just a generic and important approach towards creating your own version of user testing.
Follow the above-mentioned steps to form your own prototypes, development cycles, testing scripts, actionable goals and observable goals. Prioritize your users’ reactions, behavior and suggestions and you will see a massive improvement in your development. The process of user testing is the necessity for modern era development. It might slow you down at first, but eventually, it will speed up the entire process for your app development team.