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UX Testing: What, Why, How, with Examples

“70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience.” (source)

Have you ever faced a situation where you’ve gone to a website or a mobile app but, due to issues like poor performance or complicated interface, chose to move on to another competitor? Imagine another scenario where a popular smartphone company releases a sleek new calculator app. The design boasts a minimalist aesthetic with hidden buttons and menus accessed through swipes and gestures. While this might seem modern on the surface, it soon becomes clear there’s a problem. Users who are accustomed to a certain layout and functionality will value efficiency and ease of use over a visually striking design.

UX testing is extremely important to safeguard a product from running into such situations.

What is UX testing?

UX testing, short for user experience testing, is a method for evaluating how real users interact with a product or service. It involves putting your product in front of real people and observing how they use it to identify any issues and improve the overall experience.

Analogy for better understanding

Imagine you’ve just built a brand-new restaurant. It looks amazing – beautiful decor, fancy tables, and a sleek kitchen. But on opening day, you realize something is off. People bump into furniture trying to find their seats, struggle to decipher the cryptic menu, and wait for ages for their food because the waitstaff can’t quite figure out how the kitchen works.

This is what happens when you launch a product without UX testing. It might look good on the surface, but usability issues create a frustrating experience that drives customers away.

Here’s what you might learn from UX testing your restaurant:

  • Confusing layout: People keep getting stuck in the doorway because the coat rack is awkwardly placed (unintuitive design).
  • Unclear menu: Fancy descriptions confuse customers about what each dish is (lack of clear labels).
  • Slow service: The waitstaff keeps getting tangled up in the chairs because they’re too close together (inefficient layout hindering workflow).

Just like this restaurant example, UX testing helps you identify pain points and areas for improvement in your website, app, or any other product or service.

Why does UX testing matter?

Look at UX testing as bridging the gap between what you think users need and what they actually need. You can figure out the following things through it:

  • Uncover hidden issues: Imagine pouring your heart into a website or app, only to discover later that users find it confusing or frustrating. UX testing acts like a secret weapon, revealing usability problems you might miss. It exposes unclear instructions, illogical layouts, and anything that makes using your product a chore.
  • Happy users, loyal users: By ironing out the kinks through UX testing, you create a user experience that’s smooth, intuitive, and enjoyable. This translates to happy users who are more likely to stick around, become loyal customers, and even recommend your product to others.
  • Data-driven decisions: Hunches and guesswork don’t cut it in today’s competitive landscape. UX testing provides concrete data on how users interact with your product. This data informs design decisions, ensuring your product is not just functional but truly user-centered.
  • Competitive edge: In a crowded marketplace, a well-designed product stands out. Understanding your users through UX testing puts you ahead of the curve. You can identify areas where competitors might be falling short and create a product that offers a superior user experience.
  • Cost-effective in the long run: While UX testing requires some investment, it’s far cheaper to fix problems early on than to deal with a product that users abandon or constantly struggle with. Early detection through UX testing saves you time, money, and frustration in the long run. Read: Minimizing Risks: The Impact of Late Bug Detection.

How to do UX testing?

You can conduct UX testing in various ways. Here’s a guide on how to go about it:

Step 1: Define your goals

What do you want to learn from the test? Is it the ease of navigation on your website, or how clear is the new mobile app feature? Clearly defined goals guide the testing process and help you analyze the results effectively.

Step 2: Recruit participants

Find users who represent your target audience. Consider demographics, behavior patterns, and tech savviness when selecting participants.

Step 3: Choose a testing method

There are multiple approaches to UX testing, each suited for different situations:

Moderated vs. unmoderated testing:

  • Moderated: A facilitator guides users through tasks, asking questions and observing their behavior. This allows for deeper insights but can be more expensive.
  • Unmoderated: Users complete tasks on their own, often remotely. This is cost-effective but offers less opportunity for probing questions.

Remote vs. in-person testing:

  • Remote: Users complete the test from their own devices and locations. This is convenient but might lack the control of an in-person setting.
  • In-Person: Users test the product in a controlled environment, allowing for observation of body language and facial expressions.

Other UX testing methods:

  • Card sorting: Users organize content categories intuitively, revealing how they think about information and how your website or app should be structured.
  • Eye tracking: This method monitors where users look on a screen, highlighting areas of confusion or interest. It provides valuable insights into user attention and information processing.
  • A/B testing: This method involves comparing two versions of a design element (e.g., button placement, layout) to see which one performs better with users. It’s a data-driven way to optimize your product. Read: Alpha vs. Beta Testing: A Comprehensive Guide.
  • Usability testing: The most common form of UX testing focusing on how easily users can complete tasks using the product. It can be conducted in a lab setting or remotely.
  • Accessibility testing: Ensures that the product is usable by people of varying abilities, including those with disabilities. This type of testing checks compliance with legal and moral standards like the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Read How to Build an ADA-compliant App.
  • Heuristic evaluation: Instead of user participation, a small group of evaluators or designers use established usability principles (heuristics) to identify problems in a product interface.

Step 4: Analyze the results

Look for patterns in user behavior, identify pain points, and see how effectively they completed the tasks. Analyze screen recordings, notes, and user feedback to gain a comprehensive understanding of the user experience.

Step 5: Make improvements

Use the insights from your UX testing to refine your product and iterate on the design. This might involve improving navigation, clarifying instructions, or restructuring the layout based on user feedback.

Examples of UX testing in the real world

Here are a few examples of how UX testing helps companies identify and address usability issues in their products and services:

Example 1: E-commerce redesign: Simplifying the checkout process

Here is an example of an e-commerce clothing retailer. Let us see how UX testing transformed their business.

Company A major online clothing retailer.
Problem The checkout process was lengthy and confusing, with hidden fees and multiple steps for entering shipping information. This led to cart abandonment and frustrated customers.
UX testing method Moderated testing with real customers. Participants were asked to browse the clothing selection, add items to their cart, and attempt to complete the checkout process. The facilitator observed their actions, asked questions about their thought processes, and recorded their screen interactions.
Results Users found the hidden fees frustrating and the multi-step shipping information entry tedious. Some abandoned their carts entirely due to the complexity.
Improvements Based on the testing, the checkout process was streamlined. Fees were made upfront and transparent, and the shipping information entry was consolidated into a single step.
Outcome Cart abandonment rates decreased significantly, leading to a boost in sales and customer satisfaction.

Example 2: Mobile app redesign: Enhancing user navigation

Let us review how a food delivery app performed UX testing and was redesigned for better navigation and business.

Company A popular food delivery app.
Problem The app’s interface was cluttered, with a complex menu system and unclear search functionalities. Users struggled to find specific restaurants and navigate the ordering process.
UX testing method Card sorting and A/B testing. In the card sorting session, users categorized restaurant attributes like cuisine type and price range. This helped understand how users mentally organize information. For A/B testing, two versions of the app’s menu structure were compared to see which one users found more intuitive.
Results The card sorting revealed that users preferred to search for restaurants by cuisine type rather than location. The A/B testing showed that a simplified menu with clearer categories led to faster navigation and more completed orders.
Improvements The app’s menu was redesigned with a focus on cuisine type, and the search function was optimized for easier keyword filtering.
Outcome The revised app saw a significant increase in successful order completion rates and user satisfaction with overall navigation.

Example 3: Website redesign for a museum: Engaging visitors online

UX testing helped an art museum to engage its visitors online and increase sales drastically. Let us see how.

Company A renowned art museum.
Problem The museum’s website was outdated and lacked clear information about exhibits, visitor guides, and ticket purchases.
UX testing method Moderated testing with potential museum visitors. Participants were asked to navigate the website and complete tasks like finding information about a specific exhibit and purchasing online tickets.
Results Users found the website confusing and difficult to navigate. The lack of high-quality visuals and clear calls to action hindered engagement.categories led to faster navigation and more completed orders.
Improvements The website was redesigned with a focus on user experience. High-resolution images and interactive elements showcased the museum’s collection. The information architecture was reorganized for better clarity, and the ticket purchase process was streamlined.
Outcome The revamped website led to a rise in online visitors, increased online ticket sales, and a more positive digital experience for potential museum patrons.

Example 4: Voice assistant training: Understanding natural language

Let us see an example where UX testing helped in voice assistant training for natural language recognition.

Company A developer of a smart home voice assistant device.
Problem The voice assistant struggled to understand natural language commands and would often misinterpret user requests.
UX testing method Usability testing in real homes. Participants were asked to interact with the voice assistant device using natural language to complete tasks like setting alarms, playing music, and controlling smart home devices.
Results The testing revealed that the voice assistant misinterpreted certain phrases and struggled with accents or background noise.
Improvements The voice assistant’s language recognition engine was refined based on user feedback. The system was trained on a wider range of natural language variations and pronunciations.
Outcome The improved voice assistant understood user commands more accurately, leading to a more natural and frustration-free user experience.

Challenges with UX testing

UX testing, while crucial for creating user-friendly products, comes with its own set of challenges. Here are the most common challenges that you might encounter:

  • Defining the right test: The success of UX testing hinges on having clear goals. A poorly defined test can lead to irrelevant data and difficulty interpreting the results. You need to carefully consider what aspects of the user experience you want to evaluate and tailor the testing tasks accordingly.
  • Recruiting the right participants: Finding users who truly represent your target audience is essential. Testing with the wrong demographic can provide misleading data. Consider factors like age, technical expertise, and behavior patterns when recruiting participants.
  • Staying objective: Our own biases can influence how we interpret user behavior during testing. It’s important to maintain objectivity and focus on observing user actions and reactions without preconceived notions.
  • Cost and resources: Depending on the UX testing method chosen, costs can vary. Moderated testing with in-person sessions might be expensive, while unmoderated remote testing can be more cost-effective but might lack the richness of live observation. Finding the right balance between cost and the value of the insights gained is key.
  • Creating a realistic testing environment: Ideally, UX testing should mimic real-world usage scenarios. However, testing in a lab setting might not always capture the true user experience. Consider remote testing tools or conducting sessions in environments that resemble how users will interact with the product in the real world.
  • Encouraging honest feedback: Users might be hesitant to express negative opinions or highlight difficulties they encounter during testing. Creating a comfortable and encouraging environment is crucial to eliciting honest feedback that reflects genuine user experience challenges.
  • The Hawthorne effect: This is a phenomenon where users alter their behavior because they are aware they’re being observed. This can make it difficult to capture their natural interactions with the product.
  • Analyzing and implementing findings: Once the testing is complete, analyzing the data and translating insights into actionable improvements requires careful consideration. Prioritization and clear communication are essential to ensure that UX testing results lead to tangible changes in the product design.
  • Getting stakeholder buy-in: Decision-makers might not always see the value in UX testing, especially if they perceive it as a delay in the development process. Clearly communicating the benefits of UX testing and how it leads to a better product can help secure stakeholder support.

Metrics for UX testing

You will see that UX testing relies on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to paint a complete picture of the user experience. Here are some metrics that are commonly used for this job:

Metrics Description
Task completion rate The percentage of users who successfully complete a specific task.
Success rate This considers both task completion and the quality of that completion (e.g., completing a purchase without errors).
Error rate The number of times users encounter errors or difficulties while trying to complete tasks.
Time on task The average time it takes users to complete a specific task.
Number of steps The average number of steps users take to complete a task. This helps identify overly complex workflows.
System Usability Scale (SUS) A standardized questionnaire that measures user satisfaction with a product’s usability.
Single Ease Question (SEQ) A simple question asking users how easy it was to use the product on a scale of 1 (very difficult) to 7 (very easy).
Post-test interviews Open-ended questions after testing allow users to share their thoughts, feelings, and frustrations with the product.
Clickstream analysis Tracks the sequence of clicks and actions users take while navigating a website or app.
Eye tracking Analyzes where users look on a screen, revealing areas of interest and potential confusion.
Heatmaps Visually represent user interactions like clicks or taps, highlighting areas of high user engagement.

Tips to conduct better UX testing

Here are some tips to help you make the most out of UX testing:

  • Choose the right method: Different testing methods suit different situations. Moderated testing provides deeper insights, while unmoderated testing is faster and more cost-effective. Consider your budget, resources, and testing goals when selecting a method. Know How to Save Budget on QA.
  • Develop a usable test plan: Outline the testing process, including tasks users will complete, the testing environment, and how you’ll capture and analyze data. A well-defined plan ensures a smooth testing experience. Read this complete guide on Test Planning.
  • Prioritize user comfort: Create a relaxed and welcoming environment. Put users at ease and explain the testing process clearly. Their comfort will lead to more natural interactions with the product.
  • Focus on observation, not coaching: Your role is to observe user behavior, not tell them how to complete tasks. Ask open-ended questions to understand their thought processes and frustrations.
  • Think beyond words: Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and hesitation can reveal a lot. Pay attention to these signals alongside what users say.
  • Take clear notes: Document user behavior, feedback, and any issues encountered. Screenshots or screen recordings can be valuable for capturing the user journey.
  • Prioritize usability issues: Not all identified issues deserve equal importance. Focus on the most critical problems that significantly hinder user experience.
  • Communicate results effectively: Share your findings with stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. Use visuals like heat maps or user quotes to illustrate key points.

testRigor for codeless test automation

testRigor is a one-stop testing solution for all kinds of automation testing requirements.

Let’s look at the valuable features of testRigor.

  • Cloud-hosted: testRigor eliminates the need for companies to invest in setting up and maintaining their own test automation infrastructure and device cloud. This translates to significant savings in time, effort, and cost. Once teams are signed in and subscribed, they can start testing immediately. Read: How to do End-to-end Testing with testRigor.
  • Free from programming languages: While using testRigor, we don’t have to worry about knowing any programming languages. Yes, testRigor helps create end-to-end test scripts in parsed plain English. This advantage helps manual testers immensely, which is why it is an automation testing tool for manual testers. They can create and execute test scripts three times faster than other tools. Also, any stakeholder can add or update natural language test scripts, which are easy to read and understand.
  • Compliance and Accessibility: testRigor is SOC2 and HIPAA compliant and supports FDA 21 CFR Part 11 reporting. So you can very well trust testRigor and leave the worry aside about security concerns, accessibility testing and data breach issues.
  • Scalability: testRigor supports the simultaneous execution of test scripts in multiple browsers and devices for different sessions. Know about Cross-platform Testing: Web and Mobile in One Test. Also, testRigor has its device cloud, where we can execute test cases on physical devices connected to the cloud. We don’t need to depend on any third-party cloud providers.
  • Integrations: testRigor offers built-in integrations with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins and CircleCI, test management systems like Zephyr and TestRail, defect tracking solutions like Jira and Pivotal Tracker, infrastructure providers like AWS and Azure, and communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. So, there is no need to worry about manually adding third-party integration packages.
  • One Tool For All Testing Types: testRigor performs more than just web automation. It can be used for:

Final note

UX testing is like having a dress rehearsal for your product. You invite a group of people who represent your target customers and observe them as they navigate the space, interact with the product, and try to complete tasks.

The best UX testing approach depends on your specific goals, resources, and project timeline. UX testing will help you ensure that your product is not just functional but a delight to use, fostering user satisfaction, brand loyalty, and, ultimately, success.

Additional resources


How do you choose participants for UX Testing?

Your UX testing participants should represent the product’s target audience. This includes demographics, user behavior, and experience levels relevant to the product being tested. Recruiting the right participants ensures that the feedback is relevant and actionable.

What is the difference between UX Testing and Usability Testing?

Usability Testing is a subset of UX Testing focused specifically on how easy and intuitive a product is to use. UX Testing is broader and examines all aspects of a user’s experience with the product, including emotional response, efficiency, and overall satisfaction.

What are the outcomes of UX Testing?

The outcomes of UX Testing include detailed reports on usability issues, user behavior, and direct feedback from users. These results are used to make informed product design and development decisions, ultimately leading to a better user experience.

Can UX Testing be done remotely?

Yes, remote UX Testing is increasingly common and can be conducted using various tools that allow testers to observe user interactions, conduct interviews, and gather feedback online. Remote testing can offer more natural insights into user behavior as participants are using the product in their own environment.

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