Happy Stories #4: The right time to test within your development process
Welcome to Happy Stories! Every week we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest developments in the area of UX research and testing of digital applications. Tests ensure happy users and that makes us happy. Hence the name; Happy Stories. In Happy Stories #3 we’ve discussed our top 10 user testing methods. But when do you conduct them within your development process?
At the end of this article you will know:
✓ What to investigate in every development phase
✓ When to use different kinds of testing methods
✓ How to implement different testing methods within your product development process
The first phase of you application development should be all about finding out if your idea fits the needs of your target group and if your business objectives meet real-world goals. You can do this by collecting qualitative and quantitative data of your users. The best way to do this is conducting interviews and surveys with your users. Analyzing the data will give you valuable insights which you can use to create a data-driven Customer Journey Map. This map will help you identify the key satisfiers and pain points of your users and enable you to refine your concept.
Turning your concept into a low-fidelity prototype is a good way to quick-and-dirty test it. An important part of the low-fidelity prototype of your application is determining the information architecture and interaction design. Onboarding your users in this phase by letting them help you set up these architectures will help you craft a design that is usable for the people who will use it. You can do this by organizing a card sorting session where you will lay out all the components of your application and let your users group them based on their logic. Another way you can involve your users within this phase is doing A/B tests different versions of your low-fidelity prototype. This will help you determine which version of your application suits your users best.
When your low-fidelity prototype has passed the tests you can start crafting your high-fidelity prototype. Your prototype will start to look like how the application works and looks like. In this phase it is time to make a clickable prototype of the designed screens with, for example, Invision. This clickable prototype is ideal to test with your users. But before diving into a user test you can first perform a heuristic evaluation with a UX professional. During this heuristic evaluation, the UX professional will test your application based on a set of usability guidelines. Doing this helps you removing the biggest design flaws from your application.
Now it’s time to get out of the building and test your high-fidelity prototype with your users. You can go for a moderated or unmoderated usability test based on your budget and project planning. Doing a usability test is often one of the last tests before going into actual development and the first moment your users will experience your application the way it is going to function in real life. Prepare your sessions well, create a test plan and set specific goals beforehand to get the most out of these tests and get good results.
Beta & Product ready
Now that your application is finished, it is time to go on a bug hunt! You wouldn’t want your application to be officially released and then find out that it breaks down after a few clicks. Doing a beta test will solve (most) of the problems users encounter with your application. A beta test can be performed on a test domain (website) or through beta testing platforms like the Google Play Developer console (Android) and Testflight (iOS). The focus of these beta test should be to try as much stuff as possible with the application until it breaks. That may sound a little bit weird, but it helps developers to find coding mistakes.
Obviously, the development of your application is never finished. After going through all phases and tests from A to Z you can start over again creating new concepts and functionalities. Focus groups can help you finding new functionalities based on insights of your users.
Whether you start testing right away or implement testing methods in every phase of your development process, it will always give you valuable insights about your users and your application. Want to start testing right away? We are happy to help you conduct kick-ass user testing and provide a hassle free test experience. Click here for the possibilities.