I love user testing. I enjoy the clarity I receive by uncovering the pain points of the people using the design. And I enjoy the unification I experience between my client and I when I'm designing based on user feedback instead of my own personal criteria. So here goes - the questions I ask when testing users. Note that these questions may vary based on the project I'm conducting the test for, but I always review this list of questions first when preparing my test. Also note that these questions could be used when testing branding as well as apps as well as websites, so I'm using the word "experience" to include any of those options.
The Questions to Ask
Here's my base list:
- What is your first impression of the experience?
- Does the experience make it easy to understand what the platform or company is offering?
- Based on what you see, do you think you would trust this company with your credit card (assuming you wanted to buy from them)?
- Between this experience and its competitors (which you provide links to), which appears to provide the best solution?
- What two things do you like most about this experience?
- If you could change one thing about this experience, what would you do to it?
These questions should give you a solid basis of understanding. Using just the information you receive from these questions alone, you should be far more prepared to redesign an improved experience.
The Tasks to Request
Questions alone are not enough when conducting a user test (with the exception of brand identity tests). The other side of the coin is the tasks you ask your users to perform.
Example: On the Go Moving
I was asked to redesign the website for On the Go Moving & Storage, a Seattle-area company (you can guess what they do). I went through the entire user testing process with them, and here are the tasks I requested users to perform in testing:
- Request a quote.
- Find what services are offered by this company for residential moving.
- Your family of 4 needs to move 15 miles up the road. Find out the general price for a job like this without requesting a quote.
- Go to movablewa.com and adamsmovingservice.com and explore these competitors briefly. Look for their services and rates. Including onthegomoving.com, which site is the easiest to digest? Explain which site you would purchase from based on first impression and why. Feel free to talk through a few things you think are worth noting when comparing these sites.
I could've asked users to go through some additional tasks, but these covered the important parts of the site: requesting a quote, finding and understanding pricing and services, and comparing users' perspectives of the site compared to competitors.
Example (cont.): The Results
Request a quote.
- The quote form is easy to find and use.
Pricing and Services
- The process of finding and understanding pricing is very difficult.
- Users tend to go the Services page to find pricing – a separate Rates page is redundant and unused.
- The website doesn’t educate users on how to understand pricing – no one knows how many trucks or movers they’ll need and nothing gives them a ballpark way to estimate it.
- In general, prices should be quicker to find and easier to digest.
- Social proof is a huge factor in choosing a service, but the website doesn’t make it prominent enough:
- BBB A+ rating and Yelp rating & number of reviews should be clearly placed on the homepage.
- There should be multiple testimonials that are presented across the site.
- There is too much paragraph text. The site content can’t be read or digested in the current formatting.
- Imagery doesn’t feel personal and doesn’t depict the quality of work expected.
- Adam’s website is typically regarded as the best site, and both competitors are always chosen over On the Go Moving based upon website experience.
- A video, like is on Adam’s site, makes the experience personal and high quality.
- The site looks dated.
As you can see, some interesting information was uncovered, and when comparing competitors, users found quite a few new points of feedback. You can watch an example from this test below.