The Lost Art of Knowing Your Customer

The Lost Art of Knowing Your Customer
February 16, 2017 Seán Darling

A participant gives feedback on a product during a Usability Test

Usability Testing is a research technique that has been used for years to help designers learn more about the behaviour of consumers. It gives insights into customer personas and their reasoning, likes and online habits.

As designers we often make the novice error of designing for ourselves, not our customers. This isn’t uncommon, as naturally you are going to jump to your own preference and way of doing things. But your customers often have a very different perspective, and may not use your digital product the same way you do. This is where Usability Testing comes in.

With Usability Testing we aim to obtain information from two varying types of research. By bringing your customer into a controlled environment, we can set out to uncover both qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative aims to uncover the user’s opinions. For example do they like the product? What don’t they like? Does the product act the way they were expecting, or did something catch them off guard? A variety of these questions are asked to get the user’s honest feedback about your product. In some ways these are the most important pieces of information a Usability Test can give you.

The quantitative part of a usability test sees how your product performs. Customers are asked to complete a series of tasks using your product. With minimal prompts or instructions from the moderator, the user’s performance is measured using a variety of metrics. One individual test won’t garner much usable feedback, but once you repeat the test with 5 or more individuals you begin to see patterns, eg. potential customers getting lost in the navigation, or the signup process being too complicated. Once these patterns emerge, very quickly they become actionable for a team of designers to remedy.

With Usability Testing it is easy to get lost and confused. From recruiting, to scripting, moderating, and then reporting all of the information, it can get messy. What is important to remember is the objective starting out: to get to know your users wants and needs from your digital product. Finding out how they truly feel about your product can determine whether your product will succeed or fail.

Graphic Mint provide a top quality Usability Testing service to clients. Our breadth of work has afforded us great experience and knowledge. Learn more about our offering at UsabilityTesting.ie.

Seán Darling
Sean is a Junior UX Designer at Graphic Mint.