In previous articles, we gave a broad overview of how to turn data into insights. You can extract more from your data through simple tasks. User testing provides many opportunities for you to gain deeper insights through follow up questions, reading body language and analysing tone of voice.
Don’t limit yourself
Firstly, don’t limit the way you collect data. In a one-on-one user test, it’s standard practice for the moderator to write notes and observe actions. This is a solid foundation, however it limits what you can interpret later on if notes are the only form of collection.
Use best practices
You can go further than standard practices, go to best practices such as; screen, audio or video recording the session and later having it transcribed. After obtaining permission from the user, you can record the session so you are able to revisit the user test and continue to analyse later on.
Although the purpose of usability testing is to gather qualitative data, you can also quantify your data. If you were asking your interviewee questions, such as, how would you rate the usability of this website?, you can allow them to vote on a scale of 1 to 5 to quantify their answers. For example:
1: I completely disagree
2: I slightly disagree
3: I’m neutral
4: I slightly agree
5: I completely agree
This gives you clear, actionable data that you can compare against your test hypotheses.
It’s always a good idea to gather written feedback from users. Provide an opportunity for users to submit their own feedback without the moderator present. This can be done in a simple email or survey system, such as SurveyMonkey.
Review and segment your data
Once you’ve successfully gathered your data, review it ruthlessly. This is your opportunity to learn the pain points of your users and identify trends, patterns and highlight outliers.
You should be able to sort your data into the following segments;
- what worked well,
- what caused user hesitation,
- what needs to be improved and
- what needs to be removed.
Areas of hesitation may indicate that your calls-to-action or user journey points aren’t prominent enough for users, but may not necessarily need to be removed. Whereas areas that need to be removed are either causing confusion, or functions that users don’t need. An example could be:
If you had a help button at the top right of your ecommerce page and another one located at the bottom right. Users only click on the top right button and never the bottom right. It’s clearly unnecessary for you to have the bottom right button, so you can remove the bottom right button.
Remember that it’s not about finding all the usability issues but rather finding 1-3 critical issues that you and the team can solve in a short timeframe like 1-2 weeks or if you have sprint cycles, issues that can be resolved during one cycle.
These simple changes can create a world of change for your data and your site performance.