By now you probably know that including user testing and other forms of user experience research in your design process is essential. The issue for startups and other small businesses is whether it’s practical to conduct large scale research and whether it will be justified in the ROI.
The good news is that you don’t have to expend the time, money and manpower to undertake extensive user testing. You can get valuable insight by running mini-tests with small groups of participants.
All you need is email, a social media platform, and some free user testing software. Mini-tests are great for validating design decisions in a design sprint, or for quickly identifying issues that are harming your KPI’s. You can test on a live site or a prototype and your research can be set up and conducted in days not weeks.
Your first step is to recruit some testers. Micro tests are all about getting feedback fast and addressing more general design factors. So don’t spend too much time recruiting the perfect participants.
Approach past customers via email or launch an add on social media targeted at your target demographic. It’s good to offer a small incentive in cash or gift cards to stop participants from dropping out. Recruit as per your needs but you can get away with 2 or 3 participants per test. It’s good to recruit enough for a few rounds of testing.
The beauty of recruiting and administering tests online is that you can cross state and international borders if need be. For example, if you’re conducting your user testing in Australia but have a sizable overseas customer base then you can easily adjust the targeting on your recruitment ad to compensate.
Write Your Test-plan
Next, you should write your test plan. Keep in mind you’re just writing a mini test so keep it short and focus on problem areas or on features you want feedback on, 2 or 3 tasks is ideal. Tasks should be simple, straightforward directions if you want to target a page, feature, or content.
Or if you’re looking to get a broader impression of your site then you can instruct the testers to explore it freely. Create to the test plan in a doc you can email to your testers and include the test URL at the beginning and the survey link at the end if you decide to include one.
Now it’s time for a survey. Use an online survey tool like survey monkey or Google forms and write a few open-ended questions. Address the features or pages you want to focus on directly or ask open-ended questions to encourage elaboration. Try asking what they liked most and what they liked least about the site. Chuck the link on the end of your test plan and it’s good to go!
User Testing Software
The last piece of the puzzle you’ll need is some screen recording software for your testers. There are a few free online options, and we recommend using screen-o-matic. Alternatively, you can try OBS Studio, FlashBack Express, and Apowersoft as their top 3.
Or users of Windows 10 can use the built-in screen recorder. Most of these options include installation and operation tutorials on their website so it’s often as easy as just including a link when you send out the test plan.
Now you’re all set, just send out your test-plan, provide the participants with a Dropbox or Google Drive link where they can upload their videos, and sit back to wait for the results. This rough guide for DIY user testing is a great way to start connecting with your audience and getting real feedback on your website or ongoing web design project.
However, this is just a start, and the possibilities for improving your product and business through user testing are truly endless. Consider contacting Testmate if you are looking to undertake larger scale testing, if you want to take advantage of our Australian usertesting database, or if you want the added value of a UX consultancy to provide recommendations on your findings.
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