At Jana we face a couple unique challenges with user testing. First, our users don’t live near us – in fact most live across the ocean. Second, while we would love to have users test our products as we moderate, see where their fingers tap and ask follow-up questions, most don’t have a stable internet connection that would allow them to video conference with us.
But testing and iterating are two fundamental steps in user experience design, so we’ve found a few ways to get valid user feedback on our app remotely and frequently.
- Remote usability surveys – Instead of moderating users as they test our app, we send them a task-based usability survey. The survey instructs them to try to accomplish certain tasks using the app, describe the experience, answer some questions, and rate how easy or difficult it was to do. One of the ways this has benefited us is having users report on translation errors that computers are not good at catching, but humans can do really well.
- User feedback on mocks over Skype – Sometimes we can speak to a user over Skype. We’ve been able to find out a lot about a prototype by sending static mocks screen by screen, asking users to explain what they see and what they think tapping on different elements of the design would do. This way, we can get an idea of how users expect the app to function and how they would try to accomplish a task, cluing us into ways we can reduce friction in the user journey and allowing us to make those changes before we begin building.
- Having users preview a feature or design change – We’ve also enrolled willing members in experiments to try out a design and talk to us about it over Facebook or Whatsapp (two ways that are actually reliable and speedy for communicating with our users) after a few days of using it. This has been helpful for understanding the results of A/B testing when we can see a difference in the performance of two designs but don’t know the Why behind it.
Anytime we get feedback, we learn something new and it helps us see our product as our users see it. It’s also a good opportunity to remember the mission – when a potential user is asked to test mCent for the first time and excitedly asks when it will be available in market? Priceless!