What’s stopping companies from doing user testing?

User testing is not a “nice to have thing” but a “must have thing” in product development. Yet many product managers are often more inclined towards building a new feature immediately for a launch.

And interestingly, the reason is certainly not that they do not see value in user testing. In fact, in a recent meet-up with a bunch of product managers, most of them shouted out for user testing. The reason for the reluctancy in the testing is different.

Quoting one of the product manager from MakemyTrip—

“I do user testing for every major flow before it is handed over for development. I use CanvasFlip for it, so that I save a lot of time. I do user testing because that is the right way of go ahead — and because it saves a lot of my rework time and resources.”

Having attended the last meet-up and many other such gatherings with product managers, there are few reasons I have concluded why user testing is still avoided.

1. Not understanding the value of user testing

The internet is flooded with articles on why user testing is a must; if you following renowned designers/product managers on Twitter, your feed will be stuffed with tweets talking about the necessity of user testing; but even after that there are a bunch of product mangers and designers who feel user testing is only an ornamental thing.

Few absolutely trust their experience with design and others believe in getting feedback from stakeholders and teammates.

In fact, that is exactly why you need to do user testing! The stakeholders, your teammates and you yourself are seeing the product in and out everyday. Your opinion is quite biased when it comes to the experience on it.

Or even if they know something is not quite right, some internal users may simply not speak up for fear of offending their colleagues or embarrassing themselves. That’s the power of user testing. The test participants are not there to please you! Blunt feedback from users is what drives the product in the right direction.

2. Maintaining privacy of the project

Most companies do not want the product idea to be out before the launch. In such cases it is recommended that you test with wireframes. Wireframes do not give out the idea upfront — It does not have your logo or design elements etc. The idea of testing with wireframes is to test how comfortable the user is with the flow rather than testing how intuitive the design elements are. At the end of the day, any testing is good testing.

Putting your wireframes in front of people who were not part of the creative process or the requirements-gathering phase is bound to get you some useful feedback.

(Image source)

3. No dedicated UX team and hiring right now is a challenge.

Honestly user testing does not have to be expensive. With CanvasFlip user testing is unlimited and free forever!

It’s true that not every department has professional UX researchers for performing user tests. But this is no more a constrain today. With a wide variety of tools and resources available online, user testing is no more restricted to only professionals:

  • You do not have to be an expert to validate your features and flows, lean user testing is the best way you can go ahead validating your product. A quick Google search for “lean UX testing” can easily help any team member learn the basics of user testing.
  • With CanvasFlip, we have made user testing ridiculously simple so that everyone can become a UX researcher. If you still face issues with analysing the UX results, we have resources (articles and UX consultants both) to help you analyse the results to your best advantage

Today user testing is no more a biggies’ weapon. With all the online help and tools, experience should not be a barrier for validating (or invalidating) your designs.

4. Users are not experts

It’s true that users don’t always have the technical experience to articulate an issue they are facing. During user tests we do come across users who give a detailed explanation about what they are feeling, some speak in few words, and others aren’t sure why they cannot complete a task; they just know something is wrong.

The point is this: Just there experience on the prototype is enough for you to understand the user behaviour. Users do not have to talk to express. As users they only have to use the prototype like they would use a real app. And for that they certainly don’t have to be experts!

User testing is not about finding expert users; it’s about answering questions: Is what I have built usable? Will the customer use the functionality as expected? If the answer is yes to both, great! If not, go back to the designs.

5. Time crisis for user research

This is a problem that every team across the globe faces. But having said that, that is no excuse for not performing user tests. There is always time for user research if you make it a priority.

With CanvasFlip we have tried our best to follow a process that gives you maximum insights in the least time.

If time is truly a constraint for you, you can opt for remote unmoderated user testing. It saves a lot of your time, efforts and money!

6. We can’t afford user testing, or we’re not sure it’s worth the investment

People who say there’s no ROI to user testing are the ones who don’t understand the cost of bad user experience. Or the cost of software development. Or both.

The user experience is something that can very well make or break your website or mobile app. The usability of a mobile app represents 91% of why a customer will buy from a business through the mobile channel. If your product is clunky, guess what? Some other competitor will do it better, and your user will jump ship for a better user experience.

The cost of running user tests has decreased substantially in recent years especially with the rise in online solutions like CanvasFlip. The user testing on CanvasFlip is free and unlimited forever!

Final words

I believe I have listed down all the possibilities why teams are not opting for user testing even after agreeing to the importance of it. If you still feel that there is a seventh reason because of which your team is not opting for user testing, do let us know. We’ll surely work on that to solve it. :) We are trying to evolve everyday with our product so that every team across the globe delivers amazing UX to their users :)