It’s astonishing how many organizations never do usability testing on their websites or applications. And it’s funny the excuses you hear for not doing it. Let’s take a look the top 10.
1. “I don’t have a usability lab”
You don’t need a lab. In fact, you don’t even want one. Labs are unnatural settings and can make participants nervous. A more casual setting is better.
2. “I don’t have screen-recording software”
Still too much cost or hassle? Then scrap the screen recording software and run tests without it. You’ll still learn something.
3. “I don’t know how to run a statistical analysis on the results”
There’s no need, and no point. Usability testing is qualitative in nature. You’re looking for insights, not statistics.
4. “I don’t have enough test subjects”
Since you’re not looking for statistics, you don’t need a lot of subjects. Test on 3 – 5 users. Even 1 or 2 is better than none.
5. “It’s too hard to find test subjects that match my customer demographics”
Then test on subjects that are “close enough”. The only thing that really matters is that you recruit “passionate users”. By this I mean people who might actually use a product like yours.
For example, if you’re developing a “shoot ‘em up” video game, test with people who play such games. Beyond that, don’t worry about demographics.
6. “My website isn’t finished yet”
Good! The earlier you start testing, the better. Test on prototypes. Test on wireframes. Test on napkin scribbles. If you wait until the product is finished, it’s too late: changes are too difficult and expensive.
7. “I don’t have the time”
I have a friend in print production. He always says, “It’s funny how clients never have time to print it right the first time, but they always find time to re-print it.”
Make the time. You don’t need much. At least do some remote, un-moderated tests using a service like usertesting.com. You can have results back within an hour.
8. “I don’t have the budget”
Do-it-yourself testing is cheap (or even free if you’re imaginative.) Usertesting.com is just $39 per test.
9. “I’ve never done it before. I have no idea how to do it.”
Learn. It’s easy. Get Steve Krug’s book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems.
10. “My site is perfect. It doesn’t need testing”
Okay, I’ll admit I’ve never actually heard this excuse before. But that’s because everyone realizes their site isn’t perfect. Which means all sites need testing.