User testing is a type of testing done to validate the demand for a product. In other words, it is like testing the utility of your product or app idea wherein you try to understand whether the users need that product or not. It can also be referred to as User Research.
User testing shouldn’t be confused with usability testing. Both are different terms yet they are considered the same by many. Unlike usability testing where you test the user-friendliness of a software application, user testing is all about testing the users’ needs. “Do they actually need this solution?”
Let’s say you want to build a cab booking application. Unless people require an app that could solve their problem of calling a cab immediately, there’s no point developing it. First, you need to understand users’ problems, check the competitive landscape, see what kind of challenges users are facing which could be sorted by your idea (app), what demands they have, and then you can go on to build a product that addresses their concerns. Usability testing follows, where once the product is developed or is in the development stage, you test if people can play around with it easily, whether they are getting stuck somewhere, and how you can eliminate those hurdles.
Put simply, the difference between user testing and usability testing is that the former answers if the users need your app or whether they would use it if such an app exists whereas the latter focuses on figuring out how easily and effectively can the users use that app. User testing comes before product creation while usability testing is done during product development.
User testing should be done right after the ideation process. When you have got an app idea and want to build one such app, proceed with user testing to ensure if people would need the solution you are working on. There are no hard and fast rules for it. Have a discussion with people at a Coffee shop, or discuss it with your friends or colleagues in the office, bar, etc. and ask all the questions running through your mind. You can also run surveys and get their opinions.
User testing is the mainstay of the UX design process. It, when done best, enables the product development team to gain valuable insights into the user preferences, which you can incorporate into your product. Testing it early helps you prevent future re-design costs and prepare a user-friendly product.
A great app idea is one that resonates well with the ideal users. But validating that idea and turning it into success requires performing user tests, such as-
Concept testing is nothing but a research practice that involves asking users questions regarding your concepts and ideas for a product or software application before actually launching it. This helps you gauge your customers’ acceptance and their willingness to use that product if it arrives in the market. By doing this, you can make some crucial decisions before you begin the app development work.
The perfect time to start this research is at the beginning of the project. Do not make the mistake of performing the user test when the build is complete. This strategy involves very high risks. The idea of saving time and cost by not performing user testing at the early stage can be a costly deal later at the time of redesigning.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. And by conducting a SWOT analysis of your competitors, you can try catching on these points. While you are looking at companies or businesses offering similar services that you aim to provide, figure out what they are doing best, what are their strong points, what are their weaknesses such as poor SEO or marketing fails. Look for the opportunities they are missing out on, and make the most out of those opportunities. Also, try identifying the threats in your competitors’ business as it could be to a threat to your business as well since you will be involved in the same niche.
You would probably have a long list of features that you want to include in your application, but it isn’t necessary that what you want to put on your app will also be loved by your users. Choices and preferences can differ. Remember that you are not the user of your product.
So how do you decide which features are important for the users? Because eventually, they are the ones who will be using your app. Figure out what features users demand the most so you have a clear idea of which ones to consider on priority. There are certain tools that would help you determine what features should be included, what should be their priority, what do users expect from these features, and more. This would help you prepare a product that closely matches the users’ needs.
Prototypes testing involves sharing wireframes or prototypes with test participants to assess the viability of a design during the initial stage of product development. It is suggested that you start testing as soon as you have a rough mockup of an idea. By doing so, you obtain early user feedback that helps you make required adjustments, and you can continue testing until users feel satisfied. It’s easy and effective and lets you know whether your design is progressing in the right direction or not.
User testing is important to understand users’ needs, and whether your product is matching the customer demands, solving their problems as effectively as you expected, and making their lives easier or doing the opposite. If you do not test your product or idea with the target audience earlier, you will end up spending a huge sum of money later that could have been prevented with user testing.
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