Usability Testing (UT) is a bit like going on a diet, at first you might feel like 30 minutes of daily exercise is a burden. But after a while, you will most likely long for your daily afternoon walks.
For software design, UT is more like your daily walks: fun and full of discoveries.
Know Your Users
A modest investment in UT helps you know your users. And the better you know your users, the better you can make your product.
Key questions that at first look to be difficult to answer become clear pathways for success. You might think you are building something valuable and even ask people around the office, but it is only when you do serious testing that you can be certain about the ultimate value of your product.
Save on Costly QA
Practicing UT will help you find shortcomings of your product early in the process. If you don’t, those very same issues will come up as bugs later, after the software is written. And that is a lot more costly than anything you may invest in UT up front.
And it’s not only the dollars-and-cents cost, but releasing a product with “obvious” UX gaps, leaves your user with the worst of impressions: “they didn’t see this problem?”
Innovate Instead of Guessing
You create new, innovative products to meet your customers’ needs. You make your best guess as to how to accomplish this. But don’t stop there, ask your customers early on in the cycle.
It will make them happy to be involved in co-creating the product with you. It will save you time and money. And it will be a lot more satisfying to your developers to know that their hard work has payed off.
The time you save, you can invest instead in extending and improving your product.
Not as Costly as You May Think
Unlike what you might have heard before, you can do serious UT quite affordably. Roughly, a test of five users costs less than $400, as little as $200.
Compared to the endless hours of QA, debugging, and rework, this is the most effective way to shape your world class product. Sounds kind of much cheaper now, huh?
Make It a Habit
Once you get started on UT, it becomes a good habit, a best practice. Make it a part of your software life cycle.
Take these steps,
- Start Now
- Implement it in all your iterations
- Make it a habit
- Share your findings
- Read, experiment, and innovate
Consider the User Experience of everything you see, touch, and use throughout your day. Even when you are cooking (“why is the handle in this pot like this?”).
Share your findings to reinforce what you have learned and help others.
It is an ongoing process of learning and practicing what you learn. UX lives in the world.
To help you get started, we are launching The UX Clinic. The gym is open, now you don’t have an excuse.
If you are serious about this, please register for our first UX Clinic session, coming up in late May. We have three slots open.
The UX Clinic is Nearsoft’s initiative to share our design expertise with the community. For starters, a panel of experts in UX, Interaction Design (IxD), and Graphics Design will do Heuristic Evaluation, an inspection method that will help you identify usability problems.
Get started on making UT part of your best practices.