Testing, Testing… Is This Thing On?

I’ve never created an App prototype before. I’ve never made a wireframe either but suddenly my Design class pushed me in the deep end without my floaties and I had to sink or swim. Obviously I tried to swim and I think I managed okay for my first try. However, I knew I could do better but to get to the other end of the pool I needed to do user testing.

With that swimming metaphor out of the way I want to talk more about how user testing really made an incredibly difference in my App creation. It’s hard to realize any potential problems in your ideas when you are the one that creates them. In my mind it was easy to tell what the person icon meant when I was the one that put it there and knew what screen it would take you to. But when I did user-testing people seemed confused by it and what its purpose was, which meant I needed to make a change.

This is exactly why use testing is so important, but it’s also important to note that user testing cannot be done with just any group. It should be done with the target audience of the product, the people that are going to be using it one day. The Interactive Design Foundation states,

“The most fundamental reason for doing user research is that it’s the only way to achieve an understanding of the people who are going to use your design. If you understand your users, you can make designs that are relevant for them. If you don’t have a clear understanding of your users, you have no way of knowing whether your design will be relevant. A design that is not relevant to its target audience will never be a success.”

This will lead you to the best results and best possible feedback for your project. Unfortunately getting feedback can often be a struggle, as it was for me. A lot of my classmates are introverted and most of them were too nice to say anything that could potentially upset me.

It was sweet of them and I appreciate that but in the end it isn’t doing anybody any favors. The Interactive Design Foundation also states,

“Once again, if people think they’re under test – they’re going to give you different feedback than if they’re testing the system. You’ll often hear; “I’m really sorry about that I just blundered a little at that point.” as opposed to “It was really unclear what I was meant to do at that point.”

So start your testing by explicitly stating; “We are not here today to test you. We are here to test the system. We know this system has some issues. We need your help to identify those issues.””

Having the right people that aren’t afraid to tell you the truth is the best way to improve your project. In my case I would have had some serious problems in my application unless I had my classmates point me in the right direction.


Play my app here: https://marvelapp.com/6h6424j

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