Getting Unbiased feedback in User Testing

Ahmed Raza
Jan 7 · 3 min read

My first encounter with testing came when I was silently observing one of the User (Customer Care Executives in our company) using an internal dashboard designed by us. The Forex company I was working for had an internal dashboard to manage the business leads.

Dashboard Screen

Whenever a new lead notification would come the user will go and refresh the browser to reload the leads in the lead’s table. That was a waste of time as browser reload takes time. All they needed was to reflect the new leads in the lead table. We solved this problem with a simple refresh button on the dashboard. This refresh button only reloads the table and populates the table with new leads or any other change in the table (We can’t have automatic refresh as a sudden influx of leads in the table will disturb the user on the lead that he was working on currently).

Dashboard Screen with a Refresh button

This simple experience was an eye-opener for me to stress on User testing. Though it wasn’t an actual test but a simple observation of User using the product led me to come up with a simple solution that helps save time and manage leads faster. Users can uncover valuable and accurate insight that a product designer will take for granted.

I am listing some considerations that you can use while doing your own Usability Testing.

  1. If possible don’t use Static images for testing with the end-user.

It’s often not feasible economically to test the final product with User but a simple working prototype would also work in most cases. In our case, since it was an internal dashboard and the Users and engineering team was in proximity. It was very sensible to hand over the final product to the User, list the feedback and push the changes faster. When you use static images you won’t be able to consider the environment and use case scenario while testing. Here browser’s refresh button was the environment influence on the product.

2. Ask the User what they want

Empathy is something that you need to maintain throughout the product design. Ask the user and reassess yourself if you were lacking some degree of empathy. Ask them what is that they accept from the launched feature and what is their expectation of the whole product. In some cases, the user would give a solution to a design problem that you were looking for.

3. Keep a note for your observation

Sometimes the testing work can be lengthy and there is a possibility that you might miss a point. So keep the observation in written form to remind you later when designing the solution. Also, it would be more beneficial if you keep a co-designer with you during the testing. While testing, if you encounter any bug note that too, but keep your observation concentrated to your design goal.

4. Get Feedback from at least 3 different Users

It’s an amazing way to rectify any bias you have. If the solution is not clear to more than 3 users then there is every possibility of the flaw in that solution. Multiple user's feedback will help you pinpoint a central problem that needs more attention.

Closing Notes

This may not be a comprehensive list, as every product is unique and requires a fresh perspective in design. It is important to have an awareness of bias, reminding yourself throughout that you shouldn’t be biased.

By seeking and blundering we learn

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