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When starting a new project, there is a lot to prepare for. You need to know what type of usability testing you are doing, how many people you test with, what tools will be best for the job, how to best present findings so internal teams will be receptive to changes. Here are 10 steps that can include in your UX checklist to help you prepare for your next project, and get all the right questions answered.

1. Gather your requirements

Talk to all of the internal teams involved to get a better understanding of your project. Before getting started, you need a good idea of their goals. Some stakeholders know where their product has gone awry, whereas others are just trying out hypotheses. Have an upfront conversation to understand constraints, whether they have a desired outcome, a short time-line, or specific milestones they need delivered. Be familiar with your company’s needs for this project. Maybe the goal is to increase conversions, improve time on task, or just “make it better.” Just be sure to set a goal that is achievable based on requirements that can be met within any constraints, so that your tests can deliver measurable results.

2. Understand your Internal Teams

What are their expectations? Do they have a close emotional connection to the brand? Are they receptive to changes to their product? Are they familiar with user experience? Sometimes getting your colleagues on the same page can be a challenge, but addressing this early on is the best way to make sure your recommendations are implemented in the final product. Show empathy to your fellow employees. If they are new to UX, give them a short presentation showing what kind of information usability testing provides. If you are working on a project they see as “their baby,” provide plenty of positive feedback and emphasize that you are making it better, not changing what they have done.

3. Understand your target users

Get to know the industry space. If your Marketing or Product Team has personas or customer journey maps, ask for that information. Look at analytics to understand what users are doing with products like Pendo. Ask to see any user feedback they collect about their product. Once you know what users are doing, you can identify their needs, pain points, and get a better feel for who they are and what they need.

4. Determine how you will test

Your goals will have a huge impact on what type of testing you do. One-on-one user interviews or moderated tests are best for tricky tasks like how users feel, or understanding their ideal flow through a process. If you’re comparing a few versions of something, a simple survey maybe feasible. If you’re investigating the findability of something, try a simple unmoderated task.

5. Select tools

Based on what type of testing you are doing, you will want to make sure you have the right tool for the job. Do you need to prepare a journey map? What about a survey? How will you collect user feedback? We feel like Truthlab can help here, but there are other great options too!

6. Choose your Panel

Finding your participants can be challenging. If your company has a Customer Advisory panel, then you may start there but often those customers can be over used. One area that can be fruitful is a customer portal or community where you can post your request for help with a simple opt and gather your panel quickly. These communities are filled with customers (users) who are eager to give feedback and are passionate about your products. Ask if your company uses Zendesk or Salesforce.com Customer Portal.

7. Schedule participants

There are lots of online tools out there to help with scheduling. Provide users with a digital scheduler that updates in real time so you don’t have to worry about 2 participants signing up for the same time slot. Try out tools like YouCanBook.me or Calendarly so users can pick their preferred time slot.

8. Conduct your tests

Perhaps the most straightforward part of a usability study is the actual testing. You have your test script with questions to find solutions to your client’s needs. You have your users ready to go. You have the tools for the job. Get cracking!

9. Analyze the data

Data analysis varies a lot depending on the type of tests you do. I recommend taking lots of extra notes so that you have a lot of information that can be paired down. It’s very common for a user to ask impromptu questions during the presentation and you might not have direct data for that content. If you’re lucky and have lots of quantitative data, be sure to present it in a way that’s shareable and easy to digest. Platforms like Truthlab offer the ability to record, provide realtime transcription, present sentiment analysis and take notes so you can focus on the customer.

10. Present the findings

Everything you’ve done up to this point has led to your presentation! Practice it ahead of time so you know the content very well. If you know you’ll be sharing the test results with executives be sure to make it concise and easy to digest. Short user clips that support your conclusion as well as quantitative data is always best received together.

On to the next project!

Now that you’ve seen 10 steps to help you prepare for usability studies, you can be armed with having a process set in place and the tools to arrive at the insights that drive to better products and User Experience.

 

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Patrick K. Donnelly

CEO & Co-founder of Truthlab

Patrick K. Donnelly
Patrick K. Donnelly

Patrick K. Donnelly

CEO & Co-founder of Truthlab

More from this author

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