User Research & Usability Testing: Why Do It?

usability testing

In the most simplest sense, UX in the web is ensuring websites and applications to be intuitive and easy for their customers to use; to continuously test every aspect of the company’s business with real customers to create a better “user experience”. Great user experience builds brand loyalty, attracts more customers and generates more sales. A bad user experience means customers leave our website and don’t come back. Amazon, eBay, and Google are companies who lead the execution in testings, evaluations, and making adjustments based on the results–which led them to become undisputed champions in the web.

Bootstrapping the testing culture

I am an advocate of the idea of Usability testing made simple. Many companies shy away from doing it regularly due to thinking that it is costly (for time & money), but this isn’t so. All you need is a PC/mobile phone and a notepad essentially, plus able-bodied individuals to participate. A testing session can last from 20-45 minutes, depending on how much you want to stack the various theories to try out.

Out of our silos – all of us

We all specialize in focused areas at our work– be it a coder, writer, analyst…and tend to think that we should leave the testing responsibilities to someone else to undertake. Also untrue (in my humble opinion). Whether or not the tests conducted shows success/failure of theories we have, one guarantee from all of them is that we’re given better insight in getting to know our users, build better empathy with them. Wouldn’t that data/information feed us to improve our service to them regardless which area of specialty or department we work in? =)

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