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The Importance of User Testing – 5 Tips to Conduct It on a Low Budget

The Importance of User testing
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When it comes to key mobile application statistics, Buildfire says the Apple Store has 1.96 million applications while Google Play Store boasts around 2.87 million downloadable apps.

With all the competition, simply building a software or an application is not enough.

And this is true not just with apps, but also with website development and other product creation processes. You need to improve what you are offering to make it solid, dependable, and workable. To find out the aspects that need improvement, the software or application must undergo user testing.

What is user testing?

User testing is an evaluation of the functions and overall user experience of a software or product through actual user feedback. This is a crucial process in the course of any product development. To get the most reliable results from this method, potential customers must freely interact with the website, software, or application. This procedure specifically answers the question: Can my users easily operate the software or application to meet its purpose?

Why is user testing important?

Developers must not overlook the process of user testing if they want to thoroughly refine their platform and perfect product usability. This method entails the following benefits:

Testing will let you get an unbiased user perspective.

Product creators may have a different way of looking at a product or application. You can build a user persona and research the feasibility of the product. You can even let your most informed developer, designer, or stakeholder test your platform. But these methods may still fall short. And all these people in your company or your team cannot serve as effective substitutes to real-time users of your product. Testing among yourselves will likely give out different results even if it seems to be the less expensive route.

Conducting a user testing will let actual users test the usability of your product. When the potential customers are the ones testing the ease of use of your product, and they are doing it in an environment with little to no intervention from your end, you will get an unbiased perspective of how your product is being used. You will also get genuine feedback from your users. This way, you will be able to design your platform effectively and offer a better user experience.

Testing will reveal problems that you may have previously overlooked.

This process will help you detect problems in the early stages of your product development. You will be able to find out where your users are getting stuck. It will also reveal any issue that your team has not considered. Detecting problems early on is important since it will save your company time and money on fixing bugs after the product has been developed.

User feedback can steer you in the right direction.

During a user testing process, one of the most important data you can obtain is that which you can get from user feedback. Whether you like it or not, your end-user is someone who has a say on whether he or she is satisfied or not with the functionality of your product. User feedback can serve as your guide to improve your app or product usability. By subjecting your application to this process, you are making sure that your potential customer’s needs are fulfilled and any problem that may arise will accordingly be responded to.

Those are just the top three reasons why you should conduct user testing because officially launching your product. Surely, the process is important when it comes to issue detection and product development. But it begs the question: Why isn’t everyone doing it?

User testing can cost much, especially if your app or product needs repeated tests. The process can cost thousands of dollars. Not a lot of companies can splurge money on this. But if you are skipping the process just to save some dollars, you may end up spending more for future fixes that you missed if you did not do it. 

The good news is, there are many approaches in conducting this process and with the right information and some hacks here and there, you can conduct low-budget user testing.

Here are some tips on how you can do user testing at a lower cost:

1. Check the sample size that you need.

The regular user-testing method requires you to pay per tester. To minimize the cost, know the number of people needed to adequately give you the data that you need. Your product might not need hundreds of people for the test. What’s the minimum number of people who can undergo the test and still give in-depth insight on the usability of your product? Go with that.

2. Limit the testing time.

Time can also be a factor that can rack up the expense during user testing. Check if you can limit your tests to specific areas or key aspects of your product. Why make 30-minute testing videos if you can cover important matters in 5-minute videos?

3. Get remote testing services.

The ideal way is to get people to come to an area where you can view them as they are trying your application or website. Doing this requires more expenses though, especially if you have an international scope. Imagine the cost of the plane fare just to get people from the other side of the world to your testing area.

To lessen the cost, try getting the services of companies who do user testing jobs. These remote user testing services offer good quality user testing at a lower cost.

4. Do not be afraid to repeat the test.

Once you have finished your test and received feedback on your product, do not be afraid to conduct a re-test, especially if you have to apply a lot of changes. If you had to tweak a lot, then you have to test the modifications that you made before deciding to launch your application or let your website go live.

5. Learn what you can do for free.

If you are running a business or doing a website alone, your budget might be very limited. Learn what you can do for free. For example, if you only need a few people to test your product, you can ask family or friends to go through the test and give actual feedback.  Spot the obvious mistakes. Concentrate on perfecting the functions of the crucial aspects of your website or software. These actions are free, but having fewer bugs because you are thorough with your work will save you money.

User testing can be a good initial investment especially when it comes to application or website development. But don’t be daunted by the price of the process. Learn how to cut corners and lessen testing costs without compromising the results. Low budget user testing is possible and you can do it today.

Jenn Pereira

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