Usability Testing | What to ask your users

After spending months building a product, what comes next is usability testing. This involves evaluating whether your product is functional and meets the needs of your users.

The benefits of usability testing are:

  • One can assess if participants can complete specific tasks successfully and how long it takes them to complete them.

However, getting the information you need to design a product begins with asking the right questions. A wrong set of questions can nullify the benefits of the usability session and can lead product development down the wrong path. In this article, I will discuss essential questions you should consider asking your users during testing. The questions are categorized into 3 sections which are:

  • Pre-testing — asked before testing
Image illustration from freepik

Pre-testing questions

The main goal of this phase is to obtain background information on the user engaging in the test. During this phase, the feedback you get should:

  • Enable you to understand your users’ demographics to narrow your target market.

Examples of questions include:

  • To get started, can you tell me briefly about yourself? [Probe: current occupation, tech savvy]

Testing questions

During this phase, you allow the participant to interact with the product while discovering their pain points. The goals are to:

  • Identify how users are engaging or disengaging with your product.

You observe their behaviour as they use the product and request them to think out loud as they navigate the site. Defining specific tasks for users to achieve while using the product is critical in this testing stage. Ideally, if this were an in-person session, it would be easy to watch their facial expressions and body language; however, if it is an online session, it is best if their video was on and could share their screen as they use the product. Video recording is an excellent way to collect information because it allows you to capture every detail of the session. However, remember to ask for consent before recording a session.

Examples of questions to ask:

  • What do you think of this [specific page or feature]?

Post-testing questions

The main goal of this phase is to gather information about their overall experience and user impression of the product. You can also ask test participants if they have questions or anything to add so you can collect more of their personal opinions.

Example questions:

  • What is your overall impression/experience of [site]?

The don’ts of testing

  • Don’t ask leading questions(questions that lead participants to specific answers). E.g. Do you like feature x as compared to feature y?

Conclusion

It is crucial to remember that usability testing is not just a milestone to be checked off on the project schedule. Your team needs to have a goal for why they are testing and then implement the results from the feedback. This will not only lead to happy customers but also ease the project development cycle.

References

https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/usability-testing.html

https://careerfoundry.com/en/blog/ux-design/how-to-write-usability-testing-questions/

https://xd.adobe.com/ideas/process/user-testing/usability-testing-questions-tips-examples/

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