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5 types of user testing you need to know

Usability testing can help you uncover insights and issues that users may have when they use your website, app, or other digital product. If you’d like to take advantage of it, you should familiarize yourself with five of the most common types of user testing. By doing so, you can choose the ideal methods for your unique business and goals.

Moderated Usability Testing

Moderated usability testing involves a moderator, which is essentially a trained facilitator. The moderator manages tasks, guides participants, keeps tabs on comments and behaviors and offers real-time support. While this type of testing was formerly conducted in a UX lab or corporate environment, technology now allows for remote moderated usability testing too.

Why Moderated Usability Testing is Important

With moderated usability testing, you may connect with your users on a deeper level and gather meaningful qualitative data. It can help you understand the customer journey, probe users for more information if they seem confused or stuck, and develop a rapport that leads to honest feedback that may not be possible with other methods.

When To Use It

Since moderated testing requires a great deal of effort, it’s most effective in the earlier stages of the design process. You may consider implementing it when your team is working on basic concepts or prototypes.

Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing

Unmoderated remote usability testing is completed by participants in their own environment, without a moderator. Participants answer questions and complete tasks at their own pace. Once they do, you’ll be able to review their data through a video or click path at a later date. This type of testing can be done virtually anywhere, any time.

Why Unmoderated Remote Usability Testing is Important

With unmoderated remote usability testing, you’ll be able to engage a large or diverse audience at a low cost. You’ll find that it allows you to collect large amounts of data like task completion rate, time on task, time on page, and satisfaction ratings in a very short period of time.

When To Use It

If you’d like to confirm concepts or designs without a lot of time and effort, unmoderated usability testing is your best bet. It can help you answer specific questions, gather feedback fairly quickly, and observe participants in their natural environments.

Guerrilla Testing

Guerilla testing is one of the simplest user testing techniques. It’s when you visit public spaces, like malls, coffee shops, and restaurants, for example, to find participants who are willing to participate in your research. You’ll be able to give the participants tasks, observe their interactions, and ask about their experiences on the spot.

Why Guerrilla Testing is Important

With guerrilla testing, you don't need to invest in expensive tools or equipment or coordinate with participants. You’ll be able to quickly gather valuable insights and feedback in an informal, cost-effective manner.

When To Use It

Guerrilla testing is most effective early on in the design and development phase. It’s a particularly good option if you hope to validate common or simple tasks, gain information about existing assets, or perform usability testing when time, money, and resources are limited.

5-Second Testing

5-second testing is designed to help you measure how quickly your design conveys your message or purpose. As the name suggests, it’s when you show users a single landing page or screen for five seconds and then ask them follow-up questions. The goal is to find out how much users can remember in such a short period of time.

Why 5-Second Testing is Important

The 5-second testing method is based on a study that discovered visitors only spend five seconds deciding whether they’d like to stay on a website or leave it. It’s an effective way to gauge your users' first impressions and understand whether important features or call to action buttons stand out.

When To Use It

If you need to measure your users’ first impressions, 5-second testing makes sense. It’s ideal if you have multiple versions of a design and you want to determine which designs are the most compelling. You’ll need to turn to other testing methods if you’d like deeper insights or complex data.

First-Click Testing

First-click testing is performed to find out how easy it is to complete a certain task. During this type of testing, users will click where they think they should add items to their cart, sign up for a mailing list, or do anything else you’d like them to.

Why First-Click Testing is Important

First-click user testing is essential if you’d like to ensure your website or app is as user-friendly as possible. It can help you make smart decisions on where you place menus, buttons, and icons, the language you use, and the visual elements you prioritize.

When To Use It

Consider first-click testing early on in the design process, before you finalize any of your design elements or turn them over for development. It can help you identify design flaws right off the bat when they’re easier and more cost-effective to correct.

Stay Ahead Of Your Competition

User testing can make or break the success of your website or app. As long as you implement at least a few of these user testing methods, you’re sure to gain the quantitative and qualitative information you need to stay ahead of your competition and meet (or even exceed) your business goals.