The Importance of User Testing

May 31st, 2017 by Kaveh Saket

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With the imminent soft-launch of Activeperform, the Contact Point designed and built software platform for the health and fitness industry, user testing is top of mind. Of course, it’s far too late to begin user testing on the launch of your software; user testing must start at the very first mock-up of your potential product. However, once you launch your app, user testing takes on a different form. Your app is now out in the wild and being used by real people to fulfil real world tasks. There’s nothing hypothetical about it.

User testing is vitally important because app users have become very fickle … it’s so much easier now to install and integrate a new app with your other systems, so if your users aren’t delighted, they will readily move on when the next app in your space is launched.

The purpose of user testing is to ensure that the user:

  1. Can carry out the task they need to do, quickly and easily,
  2. Gets exactly the result they expect, and
  3. Enjoys carrying out the task using your app.

User testing is not a once off process. Every time you decide to add a feature to your product, you need to test again to ensure that the new feature has damaged the flow of existing features, and of course that the new feature also meets the 3 objectives stated above. Feature improvements similarly require user testing.

The earlier user testing can be done, the better. Sometimes product owners (the person charged with directing the features of an app) can believe that their customers want a certain feature, only to find that adding that feature, after spending considerable time and money to design and build, makes little or no difference to the success of the app. An example of a user interface change that actually reduced the performance of an app is the introduction of infinite scrolling into Etsy in 2012. With the benefit of hindsight, the product owner has since admitted that they could have tested their hypothesis- that introducing infinite scrolling would result in more purchases – by making smaller, quicker changes to the app and measuring.

There are now many tools available to assist with user testing, making it much more accessible without large amounts of resources (people and money). For example, within Activeperform we will be utilising Flurry to track how our users utilise the apps.

If you would like to help us out by testing the new Activeperform app, please get in touch!

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