…forever. I just had this epiphany; usability testing threatens our egos which actually stops us from advancing our products. To conduct usability testing is akin to admitting that something we built may not be correct. But, you might think to yourself, “I am the expert”. The fear might continue…“If I were to allow usability testing of this product and it comes back with negative feedback; it’s going to look like I don’t know what I am doing.” This is the unspoken and untrue threat of usability testing.
The truth is, usability testing isn’t a judge of your design chops. It’s a judge of how your design is meeting users needs and the willingness to humble yourself. You can build the most beautiful product that is fast, reliable, and has all the bells and whistles, but if it doesn’t address what the end user is attempting to accomplish it is all for not. It’s not about how well the software performs; it’s about how the user performs within the software.
Excluding Testing Comes at a Premium
Usability testing is all about validating our assumptions and discovering problems in our designs. Poke holes, break the system and doing it in a controlled environment. We want to find the issues early and fix them before they become a costly mistake. Repercussions for ignoring testing can be huge. While there is the added expense of the development costs, there are the additional costs of customer support tickets, refunds, account credits, comps and worst of all; losing users.
Who Needs Usability Testing?
If you are unsure if you should conduct usability testing, ask yourself these questions.
- Are we committed to providing the highest quality experience for our users?
- Have we ever conducted usability testing?
- Have we conducted usability testing since our last release?
- Do we have a new product or feature coming out soon that hasn’t been tested by users?
- Do we have high call volumes to our support center for reoccurring issues?
- Do we have high drop-off rates on our forms?
- Are users abandoning their shopping cart before completing their transaction?
- Do our users know where to navigate to find the content they are after and how do you know?
- Do users quickly understand your main offering?
- Do users trust the look and feel of your site?
- Are your desktop and mobile experiences unified?
- Is our internal intranet cumbersome to use?
- Do employees complain about inefficiencies in completing tasks in the system?
- Can improving the user experience help raise morale?
These are just a few questions to ask yourself if you need usability testing. Let’s not forget that companies with the brightest minds in product development and design conduct usability testing early and often. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and the list goes on.
We Can Help
Don’t let your ego stop you from providing the best user experience possible and don’t let the cost stop you either. Usability testing doesn’t have to be tens-of-thousands of dollars. Starting small is okay, the important thing is getting crucial user feedback.
If you don’t have the resources to start testing, we would love a chance to help. Contact us and we can get you started on a path to better understand how users are using your product.
About the Author
Danny Johnson is a UX Designer at Celedon Partners with 8 years of industry experience visually designing and building products for clients. He is passionate about discussing all things design and invites you to engage, challenge, and discuss your thoughts or ideas.