User Testing Without Users

4 ways to jump right into collecting all the insights

User testing and usability studies are as important on day one as they are when you have millions of users. When your internal resources are virtually non-existent, you still have a few great ways to understand your target audience and start testing how they’ll relate to your young idea.

Source: #WOCinTechChat

1. Moderated User Testing

For those of you who have the capacity to conduct face-to-face user tests, lucky you — congrats! I currently work from my home office, so I conduct moderated user tests remotely. I rely on two tools for remote user tests to run smoothly. I use YouCanBook.Me for seamless scheduling and GoToMeeting for the actual testing. Being able to record each test session is critical and so is the ability to share screens and controls.

For all testing, consider the following tips:

Source: #WOCinTechChat

2. Remote Unmoderated User Testing

The best service out there is UserTesting.com, but there are a slew of others, too. As well as the tips mentioned above, some additions specific to unmoderated sessions are below:

3. Competitor Reviews

In your downtime when you’re not conducting moderated and unmoderated user tests, get to know your competitors. Their users are potentially your future users, so understanding them is important. My favorite way to get to know these users is by listening to what they say in their customer reviews. The App Store, Google Play, Chrome Web Store, etc will have guaranteed users who have submitted reviews. If you find those have a limited quantity, expand your research to places like Product Hunt and forums, but keep in mind the context of that feedback is unknown and should be taken more cautiously.

Below are some ways to make reading others’ reviews a beneficial practice:

Source: #WOCinTechChat

4. Competitor Support Pages

A final place to gain quick insights are competitor support portals. There are a few things you can glean here. Whether they have the most up votes or are simply prioritized over other content, note the important articles. You’re looking for shortcomings within the service that you can improve upon. How is the issue being framed? Can it be made more clear? Is this proof that feature X is inherently unintuitive? Is there a way the need for this article could be made obsolete?

Having a thorough understanding of your ideal range of users will lead you towards the kind of empathetic problem solving that has the power to convert early and often.

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User Experience Designer at @Captricity | Oakland, CA http://allisonmilchling.com

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