We’ve been using UserTesting.com while building out our new product, Two Minute Mobile. We ran user tests both in the early planning and prototyping stages and in the later development stages.
First, if you’re not familiar with UserTesting.com, it’s a site where you can set up a quick web or mobile based user test (you can use an HTML export from ProtoShare as the basis for a test). You then can use either your own users, or for a reasonable fee, get a 15 minute user test from one of their stable of testers.
The experience we’ve had with UserTesting has really reinforced my belief that you should get your work in front of real end users as quickly and as frequently as possible. Almost every test we’ve done has given us valuable insights into how someone coming to our work with minimal expectations experiences it.
Wanted to give our users the rundown of what works and what doesn’t with this type of user testing:
1) UserTesting.com’s built in pool of testers means that I can go from test idea to watching a video of a user performing the test in a couple of hours. This is phenomenal, and can inject some much-needed objectivity into the planning and development process.
2) Not every test is a winner, but most of them provide really valuable insights, many of which are easily actionable. So yes, some of the tests didn’t provide that much value. But they were inexpensive, easy to create and add more testers to, so we generally got what we wanted from the tests.
3) It’s not a statistically valid sample. This is true of this type of user testing always. But if you keep this fact in mind, the insights you gain are still astounding. While you don’t get a ‘valid statistical sample’, you are adding an outsider to your process. Let’s face it – it doesn’t get less statistically valid than a team who are all working on the project you’re trying to test. So even a small sample gives you a reality check.
UserTesting.com is not a cure-all, but it is a very valuable tool that lets you do a certain type of user testing very quickly and easily. And you can test with ProtoShare prototypes too, so you can get feedback early while its still easy and cheap to make adjustments. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes. Or, let us know what other user testing you’re doing and how it helps!