We caught up with Dilini, a strategy consultant at Accenture, about her experiences with user testing and user experience (UX). Accenture is a leading global professional services company, whose innovation and continuous drive to improve led them to the path of user testing.

Dilini and her team ran a 6-month project in 2017, running 8 sprints that included usability testing with 5 participants in each testing round. Google’s 5 day Design Sprint was the foundation that they followed and made changes to depending on the client needs and comfortability with the speed of iteration.

“We have talked to clients that you can’t just do it [testing] once and say that ‘you’ve done testing.’ You have to do it every single time you have a new iteration or a new idea, so it has to be built in and scheduled into our projects.”

Dilini hit us with her top tips to give clients when you’re trying to push out a prototype or platform so you can begin testing straight away:

  • Don’t overthink it
  • Try not to think of all your requirements now
  • Start with a smaller concept
  • Test & learn (compressed timeframes is powerful for getting that message across)

User testing helps you to continually learn more about your market and ensure you don’t waste time on unviable or undesirable features. Dilini and her team had an idea for a solution to help people run their businesses on-the-go. After conducting user tests and interviews to support this product, they quickly realised that no one wanted to work on-the-go. People preferred to have a breather from work when out and about to help maintain a healthy work-life balance, which meant Dilini had to completely kill that direction.

“When you initiate your user testing, you’re not necessarily testing features or functionalities that you build, you’re testing your hypotheses” says Dilini. 7 out of 10 times Dilini and her team pivot and change their direction for new features, even though the target market is right. The insights they get from user testing help to choose the best direction for them.

Basically, by running regular user tests you are forced to stay on track every week and constantly validate your assumptions or make relevant changes.

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Top tips from Dilini on running your user test

Minimising bias in questions
When participants ask ‘Is this button supposed to be [x]?’ Responding with ‘I don’t know, what would you like it to be/do? What do you think it means?’ The person who designed the prototype shouldn’t conduct the test, as they might end up accidentally coaching the user through it. Include a moderator in the room to make sure you get to the point.

Take the client on the testing journey
You should have one room as the testing room with only the user and a scribe and another room for observation & livestream (rest of team, client and observation guide). Nothing is more compelling than watching a participant give unguarded feedback so advising stakeholders on what to look for can help them understand why design decisions are made. Some things to look out for are non-verbal cues and body language.

Synthesising your insights as a team
Gather all the observation post it notes that your team have made and cluster them into groups. Try to use a direct quote to represent each group of notes to present back to the client. It is beneficial for you to illustrate insights with these quotes as callouts in reports . The vibe of listening to what customers have to say will start to spread around the organisation, and will run throughout the work culture.