There is a simple philosophy at the core of user experience design: consumer comes first. Such an outlook entails going through a complex process of respecting customers’ rights to quality products or services.
Product use testing or usability testing is, therefore, central to the design process of UX creation. It is in this stage where developers and participants (or potential customers) actually collaborate to improve products or services and ensure their suitability and desirability. Understandably though, many consumers are largely unaware of the intricacies of this activity and it has become an overlooked stage not just in UX design but in many innovation processes too.
UX design is the process of creating user-centered technologies to suit customer impressions of a brand or product. The process starts with user research where a UX researcher conducts surveys, interviews, and other data-gathering methods aimed at better understanding the company’s potential customers or product users. Next comes the iterative process of new product development that’s usually composed of three kinds of tests. First, a concept test may be conducted to assure whether the “idea” of a design, product or service is acceptable to clients. During this stage, a company usually gathers opinions and feedback about possible functions, features, and benefits of a proposed design or innovation plan.
After the concept test is the market test, which is usually conducted at the end of the design process. Here, the commercial viability or market potential of a product is analyzed. This usually involves evaluating manufacturing and distribution costs, product retail merchandising value, and market demand.
The third form of test, usability testing, happens in between the concept and market tests and is a vital stage as it’s when testers are asked to use the product and provide feedback that can help the company make improvements.
Usability tests involve putting a product or design into actual use on a limited scale or by a small audience prior to mass deployment. This is no different from product testing in other industries wherein a given product or service’s desirability and acceptability are surveyed from a sample size of the target market. In recent years, overlooking the importance of accurate usability testing resulted in many technological and commercial failures. For instance, in medicine, human errors in the use of medical technologies have resulted in more than 250,000 annual deaths in the US alone. But for many analysts, these human errors result from faulty, inappropriate, and unplanned product usability testing that focuses on training users rather than understanding feedback, preference, and difficulties in using a product (Sheperd, 2020).
In UX design, the lack of proper user experience evaluation has led to frustration in using various products specifically due to poor system internal responses to user actions attributed to an overlook of user outcome experiences (Mentis, 2003).
Companies offering usability testing service or prototyping assume that no design or product is ever ideal and many outcomes do not turn out as they were planned, which means it is always subject to improvements. In digital terms, this could mean software glitches, programming bugs, load time delays, or even unattractive visuals. Usability tests are forms of product validation in which flaws in the design are detected and diagnosed for troubleshooting or improvements.
More importantly, usability testing serves as a highly interactive developer-client mechanism. A usability testing agency gathers comments from the target users of a product thus giving them a voice in the design process. It also provides insights on a product or service’s strengths and weaknesses based on the user experience and point of view of the test users.
UX design aims for consumer-centered, needs-based services for superior client satisfaction and productivity. It involves a complex process where user research and testing, particularly usability testing, are cornerstones.
Choosing a web development company that underscores the importance of usability testing is helpful in creating effective digital solutions. One such company is User Experience Researchers Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based solutions provider with years of experience in conducting usability tests for numerous clients and their products. For more information on USER’s essential services your company might need, visit https://www.user.com.sg/services/.