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A total of 86% of customers. That’s how many people are willing to pay for a better customer experience. The question is, are you investing enough into your usability testing process to provide the best product experience?

Usability testing is vital if you want to create an experience that satisfies your users. Use the nine UI design tips below to help your team make the most of their design.

1. Test Early

Designs get more complicated as time goes on. As your project nears completion, the chances are good that more significant design changes will take more time and effort to do. Why go through that struggle when you can figure out what’s wrong earlier in the process?

Make a practice of testing your designs early. Get a group of users to test your product throughout the design process so you can fix problems before they become more complicated to change.

2. Prepare Test Outlines

It’s not a great idea to let testers try your design out without a plan. There are going to be parts of your product that are more important than others. If these features aren’t tested enough, there’s a chance that you’ll miss serious problems.

Before you start the testing process, outline each part of your application, and mark the most important ones. Prepare a list of steps for your testers to follow when using your product. Doing this will keep them focused on your project’s parts that matter and will ensure that nothing is missed.

3. Find the Right Testers

Yes, your product development team needs to handle some of the testing themselves. Your team should be able to find many of the design problems before rolling it out to real users. However, that isn’t always enough.

User experience experts can sometimes get tunnel vision when working on a design for too long. It pays to find outside users to tell your team what problems your design has who interact with it as regular users will. Try to find people who would use your product and design in real life to get the best results from these tests.

4. Make Sure to Observe

Usability testing isn’t only about finding glitches with your design. It’s about observing how real users interact with your product.

Your goal should be to figure out if your design is the right one to provide the best customer experience. The problem is that your testers won’t always be vocal about things they like and don’t like. This makes it vital to pay attention to what they do during the tests.

You can learn a lot about products in the way people interact with them. Use your observations to discover what parts of your UI need refinement.

5. Have People Think Aloud

You won’t get the full picture of a design when you rely on standard questionnaires with your testers. They won’t always remember what they thought about particular sections of your product. If you want to get more from your test sessions, make audio recordings part of your testing.

Ask your testers to think aloud while they are using your product. They should cover their initial impressions and their thoughts as they make their way through your project.

6. Have a Backup Plan

It doesn’t matter how well-prepared you are for a test session. There’s always a chance that something will go wrong. If you don’t have a plan for when this happens, you’re going to have to start the process over again.

Here are a few situations that are worth preparing for during your tests:

  • Testers with outdated hardware
  • Testers calling in sick
  • Faulty audio equipment
  • Test organizers unable to make it to your sessions
  • Broken web apps

Each product is different, so there’s a different set of failure points for each project. Keep those in mind when testing so you have ways to get around problems.

7. Keep Things Simple

The goal of a usability test isn’t to give your testers a complicated task to complete. It’s to test the essential functions of your design to make sure they work well for users. The more complicated your tasks are, the harder this becomes.

When outlining your testers’ tasks, make sure they are simple and don’t take much time to accomplish. You likely have a time limit for your test, so you don’t want your testers to become stuck doing a task. They need to move through their objectives quickly and efficiently, so you can get a clear view of how your design performs.

8. Don’t Give Feedback During Tests

It’s tempting for some test moderators to provide feedback during sessions to their testers. You want your testers to make it through their tasks without issues. Unfortunately, helping your testers is a mistake.

You’re testing your UI and UX during these sessions, so a tester failing a task is acceptable. It means that there are problems with your design that make it challenging to complete. You need failure and missteps during your testing sessions to know what parts of your UI to work on.

9. Avoid Biased Language

The language you use in your instructions matters for your test. You want your testers to perform their tasks without the assumption that they need to do something a certain way, a specific task will be challenging, or anything else that can affect the outcome.

Watch the language in your task descriptions to ensure your questions are as neutral as possible. Task descriptions should be short and only contain the minimal information required to complete a task.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Usability Testing

You’ll never know for sure whether or not a user interface will be successful after launch. This unknown makes usability testing vital to make sure your interface has the best chance of being successful. Use the tips above to make sure your UI and UX designs work well for your customers.

Once your design is up and running, you need to start driving people to it. Head back to our blog to learn how to start getting eyeballs on your new project.