We caught up with Brendan, a UI/UX designer from local Brisbane agency, Orange Digital. Brendan walked us through his experiences with user testing and how it’s affected his design choices.

Brendan’s career means he gets to work on a handful of exciting and innovative projects, from web design to mobile apps. User testing is a huge part of his decision making process, he mainly tests using low-fi and high-fi prototypes. User experience (UX) for Brendan, means finding out who the users are and what their wants and needs are. His user centric approach helps to create engaging and effective designs, that achieve his clients goals.

User testing is an investment for your business. You invest a small amount of time in the short term, to save you lots of time in the long run. If your hypothesis is wrong, there’s no sense in investing a lot of your time into it and it doesn’t work out. “At Orange, we find it best to test more often rather than investing a lot of time in the designs” said Brendan.

“It’s best to start testing earlier when you have the wireframe, before you’ve spent too much time you can test if your hypothesis is correct.”

There’s nothing worse than working on a project, getting it to the finishing point, testing it and finding there’s no need for it in the market. With user testing you can make sure there’s a need in the market, and you’re addressing it. Validation is incredibly important for yourself and the client, it helps to create and sustain credibility.

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Top tips from Brendan on running your user test

Consistency is key
Make sure to keep each user testing session consistent — the same format, wording, and question order. Then your results are comparable with as few variables as possible

Remain unbiased
Make sure you ask open questions to ensure you aren’t leading your participants to a particular response — e.g. “how did you feel at this screen?” rather than “did you feel confused at this screen?”

Keep it real
Make your test scenario as close to a real case as you can and have a clear goal — set a goal real users would want to achieve and ask them to do it using the product. This makes it easier to assess objectively if your participants are having success or not, rather than asking them to ‘just play around with the prototype and give me feedback.’