8 user testing tips to create the best startup product

October 08, 2021

Foolproof user testing tips

Building a viral product is sheer hard work. No matter what your startup is building, it is sure to face roadblocks. Sometimes it may come in the form of product features, sometimes design, and other times, it can be the complete product.

In order to create a strong product, keeping in direct contact with your audience is critical. It is them for whom you are building a product after all. To do so, there is no better way than performing user testing.

Done right, user tests can validate your ideas and assumptions, optimizing frictions and glitches for a successful product launch. The ever tricky path of product-market fit suddenly starts to show signs of familiarity.

The problem is user testing is more challenging than it seems, therefore you need foolproof user testing tips to help you through the process.

There are multiple layers of the gap between what your audience seems to want and what they really want.

User testing tips every successful startup uses for its product

At the core of a successful user testing drive lies one element: detailed planning.

The more accurate your planning is, the better the results making discussing planning a foundational move to success. Think of it as step zero for your user test.

The following section gives you user testing tips into the key steps that you must integrate into your user tests to ensure high performance in 2021.

Start with preparation

Start with anchoring the approach of your user testing on tasks that are measurable. Use specific and measurable objectives to do so. After all, if you can’t measure your process, you can’t improve it.

Moreover, ensure that you break down your user testing process into smaller nodes of tasks for accuracy. Ensure each task is time-constrained. This will give you a sense of direction to complete a task successfully while keeping the complete process agile.

Ensure to create an environment of least friction and bias for the highest quality results. Failing this crucial step can alter the test results and generate results that are deviated from reality.

Target the right audience

The true success of your user tests depends upon the choice of your participants. If your test taker profile is not right, no matter how much resource or optimization efforts you put in to execute the test, it is as good as not being performed.

Accordingly, selecting the right test participants is one of these user testing tips for startups. It is very much similar to what you do while generating high-quality leads in your marketing ventures.

The real question is – how do you identify your right participant?

Start with a basic rule of thumb. Try to collect feedback from people without overindulging in rewards. 

Contrary to popular opinion, exchanging rewards for feedback and surveys create biases in the user’s motivation to take the test. However, if you consider rewarding the time that users agree to spend on your surveys at all, ensure the rewards aren’t too valuable. For instance, you can offer a free coffee in exchange for the survey.

Again, ensure you have an ideal audience profile created to check if the participants of your consideration match your ideal audience profile. Look into the demographics and psychographics of the audience. An audience persona is a very powerful tool to use here.

Diversify your user testing methods

Understanding your users is a complex task. There are so many levels that you need to research to truly empathize with your audience. Their average day, their challenges, frustrations, motivations, desires and so much more. This naturally makes mapping the demographics and psychographics of your users a lengthy task.

To ensure you can keep up with the dynamics of your core audience, adapting an agile user testing methodology is critical. This is the only way to have sustainable success in decoding users.

To do so, the first strategy you should integrate into your user testing program is to diversify your test methods. The best part is there are multiple powerful methods to have a comprehensive user test. Some of them are as follows. 

Moderated testing

Moderated usability testing is one of the most widely used user testing methodologies amongst global designers alike. Its ability to deliver powerful insights and a closer look into the audience-product interaction makes this test so unique. 

Conducted in a controlled environment, this method involves a moderator asking participants questions and recording their responses. In doing so, the moderator can ask counter questions whenever the participants encounter certain hiccups performing the assigned tasks.

Moreover, the moderator can read the body language and facial expressions while the participants interact with the product. However, here’s another one of our user testing tips that will make your life easier.

In order to see true success with this test, you need to ensure that your participants do not face biases. Try to keep the space from leading questions. This test method is on the expensive side. Thus make sure, the participant whom you interview matches your ideal audience completely. 

Unmoderated testing

Unmoderated usability tests are exactly the same and opposite of moderated tests.

Just like moderated tests, these are conducted with participants being asked to perform certain tasks under a time constraint environment. The only difference?

These tests are not modulated by any moderator. The tests are designed for scalability and speed and can take place in an environment that closely simulates your audience’s real environment. This in turn also makes them much more cost-effective. However, there is no room to counter-question your test-takers regarding any action of theirs during their participation. 

A/B tests

A/B tests, popularly known as split testing, are another one of the user testing tips that you cannot miss to include in your user testing program. Done right, it is one of the most powerful ways to optimize your product designs and create more accurate predictions on your customer choices.

This test involves asking participants to interact with two different versions of a product. Here, a sample size of the target audience is selected first. Then, the participants are asked to complete tasks or are asked of their preferences between the two versions of the product.

Collecting this feedback from multiple participants, a product variation is launched to test for the complete set of audience.

Run a sample test

You have done the planning, selected your participants, and finalized your test methodologies. Now, it’s execution time. But before you dive into conducting your tests, here’s a piece of advice. 

No matter how much meticulous planning you have performed, human glitches are bound to happen, making the efficacy validation of your user test design critical.

Running a sample test can ensure you have developed an optimal design for your user tests.

Undergoing a mock test often prepares you mentally to conduct user tests with more confidence and conviction. There are so many places that you can improve with a mock test – time duration, engagement, efficacy, and much more.

The best part is you do not need to reach out to any external representative for this mock test. You can perform this with any in-house team member who was not involved in the design of the test. 

Optimize your analysis

No amount of user tests can improve your product quality if they do not offer you any insights to work on. ‘Action’ is the difference between vanity data and Northstar data. Luckily, we are giving you user testing tips to learn how to design a user test for actionable insights.

Start with recording every set of tests that you perform with your users in time. This will help you understand how the preferences change from user to user. More importantly, it will give you insights into what the dominant section of your target users wants. 

You can record these test results in every format – videos, audios, and texts. But be aware that some of your users might not be comfortable with you shooting them. It is always good to ask for permission first. But make sure you make them comfortable before you start the test. This will give you the highest quality results.

Now from this database of test results that you collected from observing your audience, what they told you and how they behaved during the test will navigate your way to product development.

Conclusion

Knowing these user testing tips from experts you have a 360-degree idea of how to conduct your test for success. However, your work is far from being over. To witness optimal results it’s your turn to use them in your work.

Sure the above tips and tricks will pave your way for a successful user testing journey. But just like your unique startup, your user test protocols also need to be unique. Without personalizing your user testing board, achieving the highest levels of performance is nearly impossible. 

Every user test you undergo only gives you ideas to improve your product but hints you on the best methods to conduct so.

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