How to make my organization understand the importance of user testing
Several arguments to support the value of user testing and why your organization can’t afford to ignore it.
Everyone wants to launch a user-friendly product, so who better to tell you when you're on the right track or not than the users? The more you know about how customers interact with your digital service or product, the better positioned you are to produce an experience that caters to their needs. User testing delivers valuable insights which facilitate this, but it can be difficult to convince those in charge of resources of the need to invest time and money in this area. This blog post will explain a range of key benefits to be gained from user testing to help you present a solid case for incorporating user testing into your organization's workflow.
The value of user testing
For every dollar invested in UX optimization, companies can see returns of ten to one hundred dollars. A report by Forrester claims a well-designed user interface could raise a website's conversion rate by up to 200%, while a better UX design could boost conversion rates by up to 400%. We could go on and on citing anecdotes and statistics that prove the value of user testing and optimizing UX early in the design process, but if you're reading this you're likely someone who already understands this.
How to be a good user testing advocate and convince stakeholders of its importance
The difficultly is rarely convincing a UX professional or someone tasked with building a UX team of the value of user testing, the issue generally lies in convincing those in charge of resources of the need to invest in this area. Presenting an argument around the tangible outcomes can be a good way to argue your case and make the investment required seem like a drop in the ocean when compared to the benefits gained.
Frame the benefits of user testing to stakeholders in terms they value.
User testing does not have to be a huge new investment
User testing doesn't have to be overly complicated. If you're struggling to find the time, or don't have access to many customers yet, you can always do testing with friends and family. Even asking people on the street or the café in your office building can be a good way to garner opinion and point you in the right direction of needed improvements. Sometimes just five users can provide enough input to alert you to design issues and build an argument for required changes or resources for more solid user testing.
Best practices show that on average, spending just 10% of a design budget on usability is enough to deliver results. That's a cheap way to ensure you spend the remaining 90% correctly, rather than blow your budget on a poorly constructed design.
Of course this might not be the textbook way of doing user tests, but it's better than not doing anything at all.
User testing delivers your organization objective information to aid decision making
When you're heavily involved in a project it's easy for you (and others) to become personally attached to certain features and design elements, but you need to take a step back and look at it with objective eyes.
What's important to you, the developers, product manager, and designers might be totally different from what matters to your end users. When you run your design through user testing you will get an unbiased opinion and perspective on it which will help take the emotion out of important decisions. Incorporating other technology like eye tracking, will give an even deeper level of insight into user interaction. Observing a participant's gaze while using your product or service allows you to virtually see your design through their eyes and pick up on roadblocks or points of confusion you may not know exist. Eye tracking registers users' visual paths and revels how they navigate your design. Unlike click or mouse data, it can highlight points of confusion while reading or navigating as well as other subconscious behaviors that may not come to light during post test interviews.
User testing is a 'value adding' expense
Organizations that invest in UX research and adopt a human-centered approach to design by incorporating it into their overall strategy see a 228% higher ROI than the S&P 500. Executing user testing on your products early and often can have a big effect on your revenue in the long run.
A lot of companies are running different kinds of A/B tests, but without real user feedback the tests are of limited value as they leave you guessing WHY one approach was more successful than the other. They also fail to reveal how the 'most' successful option could be further improved. User testing reveals which elements of a digital experience frustrated or confused a user and kept them from converting. User testing, especially when done with eye tracking, is the perfect addition to A/B testing and regular quantitative statistics like Google Analytics because it delivers the WHY behind the customer outcome.
User testing saves time and redesign costs
Aside from increasing the overall profitability of your product or service, it also cuts the time and resources needed to redo things which aren't working.
An estimated 50% of a developer's time is spent on work that's avoidable. It's better to test often during the design phase than be forced back to the drawing board after realizing the final product isn't working, especially if you don't really know why it failed.
User testing reveals what changes need to be made and why which helps your team avoid lengthy debates caused by differing opinions on what the problem is and how to fix it.
User testing can improve brand awareness and image
The attention economy is tough and delivering an ideal user experience is essential to help you stand out from the crowd. User testing can improve the functionality of your design, but it can also reveal how aesthetic elements were interpreted and how these contributed to the overall image of your product. Just think of the last time you chose one product over another simply because you liked the bottle or packaging.
Introducing user testing into your workflow
Hopefully this has cast some light on how you can effectively convey the value and need for user testing in your organization. There's a range of different options and tools for user testing depending on the size and scope of your project and budget. If you're interested in incorporating eye tracking into your test Sticky by Tobii is an excellent easy to use online tool.
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