User testing helps to determine the effectiveness of a product’s functionality and design, and the ways in which it can be improved to better the user’s experience. In the initial stages of design we want to know who the users are, what their expectations are, their abilities and comfort levels and how they will be interacting with the product. All of these factors will shape the final product and determine it’s success.
There are many different methods of user testing, including focus groups, A/B testing, and beta testing. By implementing these methods, companies can find flaws before the official launch, make design adjustments to improve the over-all experience, and enhance the task flow in software or on a website. Game production companies such as Blizzard Entertainment have an entire sector of their team dedicated to playing their games prior to the game’s official release, in addition to allowing people who pre-order games online to play within a ‘closed beta’.
The benefits from this user testing is what makes these games so much fun for the rest of us. This Quality Assurance step catches any flaws and bugs and locates necessary changes within the interface or design to make the product better. Testing also allows the end users to give direct feedback to areas of improvement. Although not every company can afford this kind of testing for a small business site or print material, there are other methods that can have the same effect.
One of our favorite clients at Spincaster recently invested a lot of time into designing the perfect brochures for their target market – middle-aged women. We had to take into consideration where the brochures were going to be placed, and how their shape, size, texture and content would be received. How the group felt towards the brochure was important as part of the buying process is an emotional one. Once these factors were understood, it was our job to test our designs against those elements. We took the initial concept designs to a random group of women and asked their thoughts about the brochures. We were able to get honest insight and feedback from the client’s target market and secondary users as well. Based on their comments and suggestions, the brochure’s design was improved for the final version.
Regardless of what your next project is, we can’t state enough on how important it is to find out what your target market is looking for. Once you have that confirmed, it’s a matter of blending the right functionality with great design to bring about a successful product. Although companies often choose not to perform user testing most small business would benefit from it in order to tailor their product to fit the users’ needs. If you’re curious about how Spincaster can help you better your product and marketing design for websites or print material feel free to give us a call.