Over the years InLytics has worked with a number of media companies and we have done multiple projects for non-media companies where we have supported their web (re)design efforts. Unexpectedly, we have found that the non-media companies are far better at soliciting user experience input in their builds when prodded than our media clients. Why is that? Well, media companies tend to have very strong creative visions and believe that their expertise puts them ahead of their users. They also seem to more readily confuse graphic design and branding for usability, perhaps because there are so many creatives in the business.
Our perspective is in fact the opposite: media companies need user experience testing more than most other businesses because it is the core of what they do and small difficulties magnified across huge numbers of visitors leads to a lot of low level bickering and low passion for the brand. In short, our belief is that regardless of what business you are in, if you are building interfaces for web, tablet or mobile you simply must get user input. The bigger the project the more input you will need and if you follow the process right you will likely find that you save far more on development costs then are research.
To help you get started thinking about User Experience Testing we’ve pulled together a few resources:
- Watch this video by Steve Krug author of Rocket Surgery Made Easy. If you want to invest in the details then read the book. If you want to understand how the research is done and how it can be valuable then watch the 20 minute video.
- Review this article that examines a number of different websites that provide different technologies for user experience testing. You probably won’t need them for the work that you’re planning but this will give you a strong feel for the types of platforms that are available and can spur some ideas on ways to get feedback without massive time investments.
- Take a look at Usability.com. The website has a fairly interesting blog and a terrific list of tools that can be utilized for testing.
After reviewing our 3 quick hits, you probably still feel underprepared but the truth is that you now know 80% of what there is to know about user experience testing. The problem now is how to execute in a way that is right for your organization and accommodates your budget. That’s where we can help. We work with clients to build wiremap, screen shot and full product testing into the launch schedule. We can help you decide whether quantitative or more qualitative techniques are right for your particular circumstance and we can help you understand the budget implications of various options. In fact, we can show you how to setup and run experience tests with your employees or preferred customers for essentially no cost at all. And, yes, we will be happy to do it for you.
Photo by Time’s Up