How To Do a Quick-And-Dirty Usability Test 😏

February 19, 2024

I finished the book The User Experience Team of One and learned so much from it. Also, getting a bunch of ideas on how to improve my process and UX practices.

It should be as complicated as it sounds. Most important advice: Better to do research with at least one user than none. — Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Let me tell you, this book was such a fun read! After each chapter, I was saying out loud: Hmm, oh, interesting, aha! And if you don’t know, I have read a couple of UX books already, and this one was the most impressive so far. Not to mention the comprehensive design and layout of the book that made my slow-reader brain dance every day.

It’s packed with advice and great tips as well as suggestions. My favourite is the “meat”. There is a part after each method called “If you can only do one of these, do X.”, and love it since it narrows down the choice and makes you put your project into perspective. Now again it depends on the methodology your team uses and if you have the time and resources to execute them. As with everything in life and the design industry take into consideration your situation and if this applies to you and the work you do.

Take everything with a pinch of salt.

The 5-second Test

What I took advantage of was the 5-second test which was what we needed to test out the first impressions with my client's prototype and see and hear how comprehensive the design is for users. This test proved to be quite useful and since it was about recalling what the users remember after looking at the design for around 5 seconds, I put it at the beginning of the usability testing before giving the instructions for the task and then asking for additional questions related to the product.

Disclaimer: After the first test I needed to mention that I haven’t designed the prototype for the participants to not hold back or try to be polite.

Quick-And-Dirty Usability Test

The first recommendation for this testing was to find someone, anyone. And I did. I posted on my Instagram story about it and a couple of volunteers quickly scheduled the 15–20 min meeting with me. This was quite the opportunity to get to know my social media buddies too. 😊

Step to was straight to the point: Ask them what they’re seeing and how they think it works. This is a perfect moment for authentic feedback. Here you can hear how users might perceive your product. If you have done a good job they will tell you exactly what you have written about your product strategy. If not, it is time to challenge your assumptions and hypothesis and think through your strategy and presentation of your business idea. Sometimes it happens that you as a business owner mean exactly the same thing as the user but you might have slightly overcomplicated it to the point of being misunderstood.

In total, I found 4 volunteers (or they found me) and this is the result from the first round, amazing feedback from my client:

Awesome work! Really, really good!
I am not sidetracked on this research piece, I am loving it.
I certainly see a lot of value in this. This is really good. I would like to expand the research…

Ideally after the second round of feedback we will start iterating on the designs and start preparing for the design and development of the mobile app. While doing that we will also make sure we have our mobile app strategy under a close look.

A full description of the methods you can read here. Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in collaborating with a designer and doing some usability testing. 🤓


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