August 11, 2013
The best applications and websites are the ones users truly enjoy using. But ensuring users do so takes continual testing, refinement and more testing. Here are some tips to make the testing process as thorough as possible.
Embrace Paper Testing - Once you’ve defined which tasks should be tested, start developing paper prototypes. It will help validate your ideas. When you have a paper prototype find people similar to your target users and start getting input. Even at this early stage their feedback will be invaluable.
Embrace Google Analytics - Track how customers are using your application with Google Analytics to track calls-to-action in order to find out which ones are working, the customer retention and where users are dropping from your website.
Define Product Goals - Defining the goals of the product is key for a results-driven process. Goals can include fulfilling a business model, forming a habit, creating a behavioral change or introducing a new experience. Committing to goals will help set the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and keep everyone on the same page.
Get Feedback Often - Get early validation and feedback. Show it to as many people as you can. As the app starts to evolve in the marketplace, user research should be more formal. As adaption grows, embrace analytics to demonstrate problem areas for optimization
Use Professional Tools to Learn Your Users Actions - Use tools like screen capturing (Inspectlet), track individual actions to see usage patterns (Mixpanel), analyze behaviors (Google Analytics), and A/B test (Optimizely).”
Simplify - Start with your worst case scenario and watch that person use your product. You can quickly identify areas where the app is not simple or clear. Get your app into a usable state as quickly as possible to see how things actually work.
Iterate the Design Process - The beauty of the web is that it is not static. So designs shouldn’t be static either. Solve a problem, ship it, gather feedback and iterate.
Trust Your Gut - Trust your intuition early on, It’s especially important when larger decisions are so fragile and can be easily swayed. You can’t build something that pleases everyone. Trying to do so normally results in a weak, confusing app. Stay focused on the goals you defined and get it right.
Use Lean UX Principles - Launch with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that isn’t feature-rich, consistently interact with your users, test and learn so that you're hyper-focused on an approach that combines speed to market, testing and learning. Success is about understanding what works, and what doesn’t, as quickly as possible.
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