What is User Experience Testing? - Methods & Tools

Instructor: Temitayo Odugbesan

Temitayo has 11+ years Industrial Experience in Information Technology and has a master's degree in Computer Science.

In this lesson, we will be looking at user experience and discussing how it is tested on product designs before they are released for wider use or access. We will also examine the methods and tools used to carry out user experience testing.

What is User Experience?

User experience, or UX, is the perception or response a user has when in contact with a product design or service or a fellow human. This perception would make him or her either want to have a repeat experience or cringe at the prospect of having this encounter again.

To really understand UX, let's look at an example. Enitz Electronics are the makers of 2G/3G mobile phones running the Android 5.0 operating system, which the company customized to suit their hardware. They are currently rolling out their latest device, BE4500.

As part of the rollout plan for its sale, the product management department of the company decided to release the device to a group of technology bloggers who publish mobile device reviews on the Internet. The bloggers would each be assigned to a device without being obligated to use it a certain way or report their findings favorably.

Their personal user experiences would help create more awareness on the device's attributes and quality thereby increasing sales or reducing them. The success of this however, would depend on whether their feedback was positive or negative.

Why User Experience is Tested

User experiences are tested to enable the product designer to review and validate the feedback received in order to fix any issue noticed. For example, at the end of the review period, the bloggers each gave Enitz Electronics an independent report of their experiences with the BE4500 mobile devices. They also published the report on their various blogs, which was part of the deal.

While some of the reports were favorable, others were critical of the device's functionality and other defects or glitches experienced during use. All of these reports would have to be reviewed and validated by the Enitz Electronics' technical team in order to fix the defects and glitches that were discovered. To do this, they would have to try to recreate the same issue or scenario which resulted in the reported glitch or defect. This means they would have to know exactly what the bloggers did to get these results.

What is User Experience Testing?

User experience testing is the collection of processes aimed at understanding how users arrive at reported user experiences. It basically explains how and why they did what they did to achieve their results and how those results influenced their perception of a specific product design.

When Enitz Electronics received the feedback from the bloggers, the technical team tried to understand the feedback reports they received. What did they do right or wrong? The fix they would need to release would depend on how much of the negative feedback they are able to replicate to understand the issue. To do this, Enitz Electronics would use testing tools and techniques.

User Experience Testing Tools and Techniques

To ensure that the user experiences reported are correctly validated, organizations such as Enitz Electronics would have to use the correct techniques or tools to form a structured pattern on which the testing would be based. They would also have to capture each step which resulted in the outcome.

These tools and techniques commonly used include but are not limited to, the following:

Online Surveys

The use of online surveys allows users to respond anonymously to well-structured questions about UX. This can be done without necessarily influencing the users' independence or objectivity, as we saw in the case of Enitz Electronics and the technology bloggers reviewing their devices.

Online surveys would have also afforded the reviewers the opportunity to relay each step taken and the outcomes which, in turn, would help Enitz Electronics resolve any issue that emerged.

Test Scripts

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