Fitting User Research into Your Schedule

Usability | February 2016

Getting user feedback on your design is important for the success of your product.  But what do you do if you’re short on budget and time?

Image of calendar with circled dateWebsites and apps are created to help users achieve specific tasks such as booking flights, downloading music or finding information.  The easier it is for users to complete these tasks, the more successful your product will be.  So it only seems logical to design with the user in mind, right?

Of course that’s easier said than done as you also need to consider business objectives and technical constraints.  Because of this, users’ needs often take a back seat.  To ensure your product is going to be a success, it’s critical to regularly take a step back and check how well your product matches the requirements of your users.

Flinching at the thought of taking a step back with the release deadline fast approaching and the to-do list never-ending?  Take a breath.  Conducting user research throughout the design and development process can be done quickly and at (relatively) low cost.  Here’s how.

Rapid user testing

Rapid user testing is a stripped down version of traditional user testing.  It allows you to gain user feedback from a small number of participants in a short amount of time to validate concepts, explore designs and identify usability issues in both prototypes and builds.

Image of post its and coffee cupIdeally, you should use a third party to conduct the research for you.  Conducting the research yourself may save money and a bit of time but also biases the outcome.  Doing the testing yourself, you’ll usually see what you want to see and find what you want to find, unconsciously disregarding some important feedback from participants.

At System Concepts, we regularly run rapid user testing.  Key features include:

  • Testing with four to six participants over one day.
  • Designers and developers can watch the sessions and experience the user feedback first hand.
  • We run a debrief workshop at the end of the day or provide a summary report of the findings.

The next day, our clients can already work on implementing necessary changes.  No need to wait for a detailed analysis or to read through a lengthy report.  It really can be that quick!

So, next time you think there is no time or money for user testing, consider whether a short burst of rapid user research would fit into your schedule.

cta-imageIf you’d like to discuss how rapid user testing can be useful for you, please contact us.

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