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User testing

Easy and affordable user testing helps us reach our goal of making video calling for everyone. These are our best tips.

Ida Aalen | User testing on any budget | UX Special, CSS Day 2018 from Web Conferences Amsterdam on Vimeo.

Neglecting user testing is a huge risk

Everybody wants to be intuitive. But how can you know that something is intuitive if you’ve never tested it with actual users? You really can’t. In several studies comparing expert reviews with user testing, it turns out 1 in 3 problems found by experts are false alarms, and experts overlook as much as 1 in 2 problems users have.

Why five users are enough

You might have heard that “you only need to test with five people,” and at Confrere, we usually stick to that number. We recommend reading this nuanced explanation of the math behind the number five. The blog MeasuringU also has lots of useful calculators and articles if you need to debate user testing with people who love quantitative data.

Ethics and GDPR compliance

To make your user research GDPR compliant, a good starting point are these blogposts on user research and GDPR and GDPR compliance in user testing and user research. More broadly, the ethics guidelines from the MRS give a good overview (and are used by e.g. the UK Parliament Digital Service.)

Tools for easy and affordable user testing

Easy and affordable user testing - Workshop

Here’s an example of a short study where we have chained together several brief usability surveys. For more detail and examples, check out our blog post at A list apart and interview with our CPO Ida Aalen.

  • We've shared our templates for user testing in this Google Sheets document. Make a copy and make it yours!
  • Treejack is an excellent tool to help you test your information architecture. See our example.
  • For first-click tests (“You want to do X. Where would you click?”), we’re very pleased with Chalkmark. See our example.
  • Micro-testing content can be done with almost any survey tool, e.g., Google Forms. See our example.
  • When testing our illustrations (“Write down any words or concepts that come to mind when you see this illustration”), we used 5-second tests from UsabilityHub. See our example.
  • Check out Hotjar for actionable analytics and super easy feedback forms.
  • Feedleback is a free, simple script made by Audun Rundberg to add “Was this page helpful?” to your site. We mostly use Intercom for feedback on our content.
  • InvisionApp is excellent for fast prototypes - but also documenting user tests.
  • For summarizing and prioritizing user testing results, both Google Sheets and Airtable work great.
  • For screen recording, QuickTime works great on a Mac. Remember to activate the microphone and recording of mouse clicks. With Loom's Chrome Extension, it is super-easy to share the videos. If you want a tool made for Windows, check out Camtasia.
  • On mobile, iPhone also has a built-in screen recording tool, and on Android, there are several apps to help you do this. However, when testing on mobile, hugging is our favorite technique.
  • In the future, EyesDecide (using your web cam) might be a good alternative to expensive eye trackers. However, this tool isn’t easy enough to use yet.
  • Bonus: Here’s the research behind why you need to offer fruits and just not candy when you’re doing guerrilla user testing.
Ida Aalen
Ida Aalen
Chief Product Officer