User Testing — Everything you need to know + Example in French

Example: — Task: Booking 2-week trip with 1 day all inclusive visite of Alhambra.

What exactly is a user testing and its purpose?

Photo by José Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash / host on pen paper writing notes and user on the prototype on the device.

A user testing is a method, developers use so that they can identify miss functionality, bugs or even find gaps of improvement in ergonomic and intuitive use of your interface.

Based on a statistics that I saw in my HCD(human centred design) course, 6 to 9 user is an ideal count of user test to cover and identify overall miss functionality, meaning you know which parts need improvement and which part is better left like they are.

Cool! What do I need to do my own testing?

Let’s start with what you need to be able to execute a user testing.

  • a volunteer (the person who’ll use your interface)
  • a prototype (is a test version of your actual project, allowing first interaction with an interface or even service to test it effective use)
  • camera and microphone set up (which is pointed to the user so we can catch the users non-verbal expression)
  • a task (an action the user will have to undertake to reach a specific goal. Like booking a hotel, send an e-mail, take a photo and upload it, …)
  • a moderator/host

How should I proceed?

Steve Harvey / be funny and serious, be the host

Usually, you’re the moderator, you’ll have to explain the task to the user. You are allowed to have some additional viewers who will observe the user while you do too. Just don’t be more than 3, because this could cause the user to fell more unease and too observed, which could cause falsification of your test result.

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash/ Observe but not like this.

Furthermore, tell the user that you are not testing him but the interface. Make sure he does not feel judged based on his action ! Especially if the user blames himself, don’t allow this to happen, this test is not meant for that!

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash/don’t let your user end up like this.

In addition, grant the user with the permission to forfeit at any time. While noting down the user behaviour on the website you are strictly forbidden to give the user any help that consists of him achieving the task goal or else the user testing would become meaningless.

chocolate and coffee / looks delicious!

Finally, thank your user for his or her participation or even thank them by offering something small like a cup of coffee or a chocolate.

Nice! I might have understood but I’d really like an example to be even surer. Well, I got just that ready for you! With conclusions on improvement to make. Caution the video is spoken in French!

Happy husky / hope you're just as happy as like this husky

Example of my user testing

no source on this one

Mélissa — my volunteer

Mélissa is 22 years old and lives in Luxembourg. She is a student at HEAJ pedagogy in Namur (Belgium) to become a teacher at an elementary school.

She likes to read a lot like books, articles, news, etc. She is a very smart and independent woman.

The family is the most important thing in her eyes but also adores to be surrounded by people she loves and knows she can trust.

Then there is FOOD! She LOVES food, she is basically a gourmet and really knows this domain very well. She knows the best places to eat and spend some really good quality time.

And finally very superfluous she has me as her boyfriend and room-mate, that’s why it was the easiest for me to pick her up as my user.

The task

The interface that we will be analysing is

You’ll go on vacation at Grenade from 1st of feburary till the 15th. You’ll book “cuesta de Gomérez”, you want to visit whole Alhambra in a day. Prepare your visit by for seeing a route and prepurchease your ticket.

The user test


User Testing — Alhambra

What we notice and how to fix this :

notice in normal writing & solution in italic. (if I talk about them I mean the guys who designed this website)

  • Doesn’t execute the search on google but rather types the given URL.

This is personal preference, but if she used google search it could have allowed us to see if there is trouble to find this website by using the search engine.

  • Trouble with dates.
screen shoot of / choose dates

Interface should allow the user to click on the calendar both right away (the earliest would stand for arrival and latest for departure).

  • Get’s confused about “Grenade” and “Grenada” and does not know if they are the same or different
screen shoot of She is confused

there should be a small indicator or explanation, close to there areas or by hovering over it, to prevent confusion and lets the user know the difference between both.

  • As a result, she is no longer sure if she is on the right spot of the website to find grenade from 1–15 February and book the hotel “cuesta de Gomerez”.

She is no longer sure about where to go because there is no smooth transition and it’s also preferable to avoid sending users to other websites to book for something you want to offer them. First, because as a developer you want your user on your pages. Second, they have to readapt on a new or another interface from where they came an not only this they might get insecure about the booking. In this case, she does not feel insecure because I know that she knows but other users might not.
  • On uses a yellow box in the left. Confusion of “Grenade” and “Granada” prevents her from executing her search.

this would have been avoided if there would be an explanation of both like I said 2 paragraphs above.

  • She returns to Alhambra website. Desired action or information is not easy to find, here “case de Gomérez” and whole visite of Alhambra.

Use other keywords on the navigation bar and make there top task more obvious if they want to the user to visit rather than booking put a large widget saying buy a vistit ticket here. On the other hand, if they want the user to book for partner hotels than optimize the calendar part and tell the “book partner hotel near us”. They should really try to make it more obvious.

  • Hesitate to click calendar again (where she would end up on and then found hotel widget.

Chose a date and offer hotels that are available.

  • No search bar to find the desired hotel, forced to go through the list by scrolling and going to next page and then repeat same steps till you find what your searching for.

Add search bar in case somebody like Melissa here tries to find a specific hotel or realise there is no such hotel.

screenshot of / hotels section without search bar


User Testing — Alhambra
  • Did not find “cuesta de Gomérez” and is now forced to go back at

Improve hotel section like. Like, make it easy to find hotels that are available at chosen dates and allow order filter possibility.

  • In search bar of, she writes “cuesta de Gomerez”. “Casa cuesta Gomerez” and “cuesta de Gomerez” are both the same?
screenshot of Is that the same as cuesta de Gomerez?

Again confusing situation, missing expenation. Add information about both.

  • In ticket section accept every logical input in nationality
screenshot of / portugese input was not accepted

Allow the user to type logic content to gain access to the next step. In this example for nationality, writing Portuguese or Portugal is basically the same, so why not accept the answer? They offer Portugal as auto fill already at writing “por”, but the problem is most people what there keyboard while typing.

  • The site asks if you have a space to stay by displaying a huge ugly drop-down menu.
They ark where you’re staying
They give you this to awnser…

Give such big list a hierarchy make desired or more important content bigger and less important content smaller. Maybe even highlight some content.

The user testing is done. Afterwards are payment option since this is a user testing on something that I’m not the owner I prefer to skip this step to prevent any accidental purchase. Therefore, the video stops a little harsh but that is not important what is actually important is that now we know where this website lacks and how we could potentially fix the issues.

Also important, I hope this article was helpful and as entertaining as it can be. Thanks for reading and if you did like the article leave a little applause.

See you in my next article!

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash