A high quality user experience (UX) has been shown to produce high conversion rates, and as such, designing the UX of a product is a considerable investment for many companies. However, good UX design can be elusive at times. Developers, designers, and product managers are usually too close to the product to notice the tiny details that may affect how a user perceives the app or website. If the perception is negative in any way, the user will leave the site or app almost instantaneously, and perhaps never return.
What make for good UX design?
Good UX design is achieved through testing and iteration. The ultimate goal of the UX is to make the user comfortable with your product, and to encourage exploration, navigation, conversion and retention in the process. Some of the features of good UX include localized and targeted copy, pleasing visual cues and details, clear instructions, hierarchical information architecture, observable security badges, a strong support service and many others.
While A/B testing, data gathering, and analytics can be very useful when designing the UX, they are still “cold” practices, in that they do not provide direct contact with the end user. Usability tests on the other hand are perhaps the most effective method of testing the UX of a product because they engage the user directly for the purpose of receiving feedback.
Usability tests are performed with groups of users from your target demographic. Before you begin a usability test, you have to determine your ideal customer and narrow down his or her traits to various geographic and demographic characteristics. Based on this data, test participants are selected from the general population.
Some usability tests are performed in-house, although this is fairly rare for smaller companies. Others are performed by specialized service providers, and the tests can take many forms, ranging from questionnaires to live video recordings that allow you to see the facial expressions and emotional reactions of your target user.
Such a usability test can provide invaluable direct information about the user experience, information which can then be used to create a better product.