Are you in the process of building or redesigning your website? Do you wonder if your ideas will resonate with your target audience? Or maybe you have a sinking suspicion that something on your website could be improved. These are all great reasons to run a user test.

What is User Testing?

User testing is the process of testing functions on a website using actual users. It's about getting real people within your target audience to interact with a website or app and observing their behavior and reactions to it. There are a few different types of user testing:

Moderated

When you run this type of user test, a participant comes in and performs the test in person. A moderator will sit with the participant and ask predetermined questions. The moderator can also help redirect the participant if they get stuck. This is a great opportunity to ask additional questions that may come up in real-time as a user runs through a test.

Remote Moderated

This option still gives you the ability to do a live test, however the participant will complete the test on their own device and in their own space. The participant is still guided by a moderator through a video call. This is a good option if users are in different states or countries, or if the test is particularly short.

Remote Unmoderated

A remote, unmoderated user test means that a participant is given a series of tasks to work through independent of a moderator. Their screen, as well as their voice, are recorded as they run through the test. The participants are asked to speak out loud about what they are doing and what they see. The one downfall to this method is that you can't ask the participant any follow-up questions since there is no moderator.

Why is User Testing Important?

The data collected from user testing helps collect relevant information about what your users are looking for. With this information, you will benefit from the following ways:

Keep Website Production Moving

A common misconception with user testing is that it needs to be done with a final product. User testing can be done at any stage in the web design and development process. In fact, the sooner testing is done, the earlier you can receive feedback to implement changes. This will not only help keep your website project moving along, but also save significant time by avoiding the need to take multiple steps back in the process.

Validate Assumptions

When it comes to knowing what works on your site, facts are better than assumptions. Crafting assumptions about how a user is going to interact with a feature, or what they are looking for and where they are looking for is a fine exercise. However, until an actual user goes through the process, you won't have proof to back up those assumptions.

User testing can help validate your website prototype and ensure it will meet the user's expectations. The data from the tests can also help gain any buy-in needed to make changes and improvements to your website.

Build Empathy

User testing can also be a good way to build empathy for your users. While you may be an expert on how to navigate and use your website, your target audience does not have the same level of familiarity. Seeing their struggles can paint an accurate picture of your site from their perspective.

Improve User Experience

User testing is important for providing the best experience possible. If you are able to gather firsthand data on what to improve, then you can make those changes to improve the user experience of your site.

How to Get Started

When designing user tests, you'll want to make sure all relevant stakeholders are involved. For example, when you partner with an agency like Aztek, we include web designers as well as our content marketing team in user testing to ensure we get different viewpoints on what should be tested in our website projects. We can also design user tests to be designed for existing websites or upcoming redesigns.

Is user testing right for your website? Talk to us today about how to get started with user testing.