Join Morten Rand-Hendriksen for an in-depth discussion in this video End-user testing, part of Mapping the Modern Web Design Process.
- With all technical tests out of the way, the site should go through a series of end-user tests. Just like the pre-build tests, this involves sitting an end user down with the website and having her consume the information and navigate through the site on her own. Here it can be useful to use screen capture software and a video camera to record user behavior on the site as well as user reactions and commentary in real life. If video is recorded, the user needs to sign a release form for you to be allowed to use her likeness.
The end-user test should be done on various platforms, browsers, and devices to ensure the end user understands and is able to use the site regardless of how she chooses to access the site. It may be a good idea to start some users on mobile devices while others start on full browsers. It can also be useful to have the end user use her own devices or computer to access the site to test for unusual browser configurations. You may be thinking I've forgotten about cross-browser testing; I have not.
That also happens at this stage. Well, cross-browser testing would happen throughout the build phase but it reaches full scale during end-user testing. Have some of the users access the site using older or unfamiliar browsers to ensure consistency. It may also be useful to have them visit the site in multiple browsers at the same time to see if any differences in browser rendering or layout are noticeable. The most important part of end-user testing is for you to remain impartial and avoiding coaxing or leading the tester through the exercise.
As much as possible, you want her to go on her own with minimum input from you. To facilitate this, it can be useful to write down a set of instructions or tasks to be performed and present the tester with that list. That way the instructions are consistent for all users and there is no room for accidental data pollution. End-user testing is easily the most stressful part of the process and also where the risk of major redesigns and a return to the build phase is highest.
That is why end-user testing is vital and that is why the result of the end-user testing, whether good or bad, must be taken into account and dealt with.
- Understanding what your users care about
- Creating user personas
- Creating content priority hierarchies
- Testing wireframes and interaction patterns
- Establishing a three-track build process
- Incorporating accessibility principles
- Using content blocks
- Testing and revising your web design
- Optimizing for social media and SEO
- Launching your web design
- Getting feedback from users