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FieldworkHub’s handy guide to user testing

27 Sep 2023
Young female respondent testing an app (standing against a bright yellow background)

User testing is an important research method that plays a vital role in creating user-centred products and services. It involves observing and evaluating how real users interact with a product, service, or system to gather insights, identify usability issues, and enhance the overall user experience. At FieldworkHub, we are experts in facilitating user testing and in this blog, we explore the value of user testing as a methodology as well as our best practice principles for running successful user testing projects.

Why user testing?

User testing serves a number of purposes:

  • Validating assumptions: It helps in confirming or challenging assumptions made during the design and development process. It provides real-world insights into how users perceive and interact with a product.
  • Improving user experience: It shows how users navigate a product, uncovers usability issues and helps in optimising the product's functionality to meet user needs and preferences.
  • Enhancing product adoption: By involving users early on and integrating their feedback, a product is more likely to meet user expectations and gain wider acceptance upon launch.

Over the years, FieldworkHub has facilitated well over 100 user testing projects involving a wide range of methodologies in more than 20 different countries. Some recent examples have included:

  • Moderated user testing of an international bank’s online banking platform in Canada. During this study, one of our expert moderators guided users through predetermined tasks while observing and asking questions to gather insights. This approach allowed our client to have direct interaction with participants so that they could ask questions to gain an in-depth understanding.
  • Unmoderated user testing of a global navigation application in the UK. In this study, respondents were given a list of tasks to complete using the application and their participation was monitored using a screen recording application. This allowed the end client to collect large-scale, qualitative insights at a fraction of the cost of a moderated session.

Within these two broad categories, at FieldworkHub, we have recruited participants for most types of user testing including website and app navigation, A/B testing, remote ethnographic testing and eye-tracking research projects. Through these studies, we have designed our foolproof best practice principles to ensure that our clients get quality insights from user testing studies. Our principles are:

  1. Recruit representative participants. We work with our clients to ensure the screening criteria only select respondents who represent the actual user base in terms of demographics, behaviour, and preferences. This ensures the findings are relevant and applicable.
  2. Carry out tech checks. Technology is great until it fails, so we always ask the respondents to download any apps they need well in advance. This includes apps such as screen sharing or screen recording apps.
  3. Create realistic scenarios. Our excellent project team conduct pilot tests of the scenarios to be assessed to ensure that they mimic real-life situations and elicit natural behaviour from participants. This helps in understanding how users would use the product in their daily lives.

User testing is a crucial research method that ensures a product is designed with the end-users in mind. At FieldworkHub we have built our expertise in facilitating user testing as standalone studies or alongside other traditional methodologies.

Get in touch today so we can support you on your next user testing project.

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