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User Experience Testing Strategies September 14th, 2012

User Experience testing is about observing behaviour and importantly is not opinion based.

Opinions require a large sample to ensure the results are representative and allow for any sampling errors. Focusing on behaviour allows for sample sizes to be very small. Individuals behaviours follow very similar patterns. If most take a similar path or do something unexpected that could prove to be the ‘normal’ behaviour, we need to ensure we design for and deliver the expected outcome that matches expectations.

It is important to acknowledge when planning experience testing that customers don’t know what they want. For this reason user testing needs to present concepts that make the lives of the intended audience easier.

In this approach we are not asking what they like or dislike and we’re certainly not asking them to design an interface. What we are looking for are the difficulties that remain once we have designed and prototyped an optimal solution that aims to deliver on the promise of being simple, intuitive and useful. Those issues that remain are those iterated upon with the intention of improving.

We aim to resolve underlying issues so that the foundations for a successful long term solution evolve. If all thats evaluated are the short term solutions that deliver the business requirements - they almost always will. To build without a sound foundation based of user expectations is ill advised. The wrong (second hand) assumptions or doing the minimum today will directly impact the level of success a product can deliver.

User Experience design is built on listening to what clients require together with what users want whilst hearing what they really need. Answering these needs is a hallmark of a successful service.

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