Feeling User pain with UX testing

Of course, usability testing can identify UI issues that you need to address and help lift your conversion rate. That’s a given. What’s less widely acknowledged is that observing people as they use your UI can help your development and design team to empathise with users.

With many design teams adopting or at least talking about UCD (User Centred Design) and the process of embedding it, we should not forget that motivating a team to improve a UI for your users is not just about providing a list of issues, but sharing user pain with them. As well as user delight of course! Truly successful UCD is emotional and cultural, not just a process.

Jared Spool describes how increased [user] exposure hours are a fast path to UX and goes so far as to describe it as the “silver bullet” of UX design. We concur.

To prove why Jared is right, let’s try a short role-play (if you’ve got 5 minutes):

Imagine you work at EastCoast trains (a UK train operator) in the Web Team and someone sends you this email:

“Hi – we’ve got some serious disruption caused by the storms last night and have had lots of calls from customers to the call centre saying they can’t find information about their trains on the website. Any ideas why this might be happening?”

… what would you do? Ignore it? See if your web statistics package had the answers? Add it to the list?

Now imagine you were sent this:

“Hi – can you take a look at this user video? We asked a user to look for train disruption information and it seems we’ve made it way too hard to find… she really struggles and it takes ages!”

Of course, that’s an over simplified example – but hopefully you experienced just how compelling it can be to observe a user. You need to experience user pain!

Leave a comment and let us know how you discover, share and act on your users’ pain or contact us to find out more about our service.

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