User Testing Process & Techniques

The various forms of user testing and research I've conducted in recent times

3 minute read

Results

Background

There are multiple ways of carrying out user testing. Below you'll find more info on how I applied different types of user testing techniques to ensure constructive feedback was obtained

To comply with my NDA, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study.

What I did

Process

Obtain buy-in from stakeholders

The benefits of testing had to be communicated both internally and to external stakeholders. This enabled buy-in on both sides and allowed me to proceed with the task at hand.

Prioritise test items

Testing every interaction the product contains would have been impossible. I therefore met with the product owner and a couple of our in house testers to identify the most critical features/products to test. We then prioritised the ones we'd expose to users.

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A group of us (Product Owners, Testers and I) met and identified key areas of the products to test. The product owner then prioritised the test areas.

Test with actual users

Once this was arranged, I created goal based test cases for each prototype to be tested. We then picked out specific user types for the tests. This is a very important part of any testing process: specific user types will have specific tasks that they want to get done. Eg. An Accounts Payable user will be more interested in how fast they can input data, whereas a Finance Manager will want to see a dashboard display of such data entered. That's not to say general user/in-house testing is a waste of time as a lot of insight can be drawn from this too. its just doesn't provide you with a complete picture.

We then went to the user environments and asked them to undertake specific tasks. We set them up with their own monitor which we could view from our screen as it was important to make them feel as confortable as possible.

I created a semi structured list of questions to ask the users based on the prototypes they interacted with but also general questions.

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We set up a screenshare where we could watch the users complete tests while being less conscious of our presence. It was not practical to carry out the testing from the actual environment that they would use the software in (image on right) but it was important we were wary of any real life constraints. Onsite research had been conducted using the POEMS framework.

Adjust where necessary

We then identified patterns in usage, documented our findings and adjusted the prototypes where necessary.

Test Again!

We then retested the areas we had question marks over in order to ensure things were on the right track. Below is an example of a prototype sent to a user group. Its always important make sure the user knows what the purpose of the test is and how to engage with a prototype in order to obtain maximum feedback.

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An example of a prototype sent out to remote users. It was important that all users were familiar with what we were presenting them with and how they could provide feedback to us.

The iterations we made based on feedback has varied from product to product. Sometimes it was as simple as changing the text of a button or even that the testing would simply validate our thought process - a worthwhile task in itself. Other times it involved us completely rethinking the layout of a module.

Image extracted from company website

What I learned