If there’s one thing we can all agree on in business, it’s that the customer comes first. Whether your target demographic is other businesses or Millennials with a passion for healthy living, your customers should be at the heart of every business decision. That’s why the usability of your site, app, products, services and stores is such an important part of company performance.
What is usability testing?
Let’s get a definition from a true expert. Trint’s user experience (UX) lead and usability guru, Susan Zhuang, took a little time to talk to us about all things UX. “UX testing, or usability testing, evaluates to what extent a product is usable by real users, and whether it meets their desired goals,” Susan explains. “Most commonly, a prototype or working product is presented to users: they’re given a scenario and asked to perform a number of tasks related to that scenario. The way they perform those tasks helps identify usability issues in the product.”
If you build something people can easily use, they’ll want to use it. They’ll also be more likely to use it again and again, something that businesses can’t afford to ignore. As today's customers demand more customized, simple experiences with their favorite brands, products and services, the need for usability testing gets more and more important.
If you’re not focusing on usability, you’re doing it wrong.
How does usability testing boost my business?
UX testing is your business’ secret window into customer retention. Still not convinced? Check out these major company advantages from our very own UXer, Susan Xhuang.
1. UX testing helps you build the best product with the fewest resources.
“Usability testing can be a quick and cheap way to identify areas of your product or service that can be improved, without wasting lots of resources on building the wrong product or building the product in the wrong way,” Susan says. Keeping costs down is a key goal for almost all businesses, so nailing the product development early on is a must for preserving resources. If there’s a sure-fire way to keep customers coming back for more, and to be sure they get everything they need from your product or service, it’s testing usability at every stage of development and launch.
2. Usability testing takes out unnecessary steps between the customer and their purchase.
Your customer should never be more than three clicks away from what they want to do on your site. If they’re making a purchase, searching for contact details or signing up for your newsletter, they don’t have time to waste. Testing different navigation and page architecture on your site is essential to leading customers down the path to conversion - you might find your sitemap needs a trim or that a hamburger menu works better than a top nav bar.
3. UX testing is great for ongoing market research.
The more you know about your customers, the more you can sell to them. Usability testing opens dialogue with your customers, which Susan says “enables the discovery of new insights about users by opening up a channel for users to feed back to the business.” Today’s market is constantly evolving - your customers’ demands change with the seasons, and so your strategy has to do the same. UX testing is a strong way to keep pace with ever-changing attitudes and preferences in the market, ensuring you keep on top of your customers’ demands and keep afloat in a crowded market. And by recording interviews with customers, you can transcribe them for fast and efficient analysis.
4. Usability testing helps you analyze how well your product will work in the wild.
A lot of usability testing is done in controlled environments, but Susan says that “nothing beats observing how users are using the real product or service ‘in the wild.’” The way your product or service is used in the real world, by real people, is essential knowledge you need to continue developing your offering going forward: “Observing users use your product not only helps your business change and improves the product, the ever-evolving product also shapes and evolves your users’ behaviours and attitudes, which in turn changes their needs.”
5. The possibilities are endless.
There are so many factors that affect the user journey and experience with your company, and UX testing allows you to constantly adapt and improve. From the color of a call-to-action button to the touch and feel of your latest product, usability testing provides you with a whole host of ways to boost your offering and keep customers happy.
When you've finished interviewing customers, convert the audio/video to text for a quick way to analyze the information. Read about other ways automated transcription for business can help market research: