Your mom is not the user tester you need.

Usability Testing

Nina Juretic · September 7, 2017.

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You’ve heard user testing is important so you want to be trendy and do it. You ask your mom, she likes your product. You ask your friends, they like it too! Great, you can continue your work. But hold on a second.

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Besides the fact that people close to you want to be supportive and encourage your work, they are simply might not be the right testers because the product won’t be targeted to them anyway.

There is a newly coined term “the mom test” after the book of the same name that talks exactly about the fact that you should not ask people close to you to evaluate your idea/product. You need unbiased users.

Finding the right testers and managing user testing is not easy and we experienced that ourselves when testing our in-house time-tracker app for designers.

Our goal? Do unbiased research on the subject we think we know best - designing. Since the app is intended for designers and small design teams designers were our target group. We did user testing during various stages of the design process. It was really hard testing something on designers as they are too immersed in the field but we had no choice.

Hence, we faced two challenges: we were testing our own product and we were testing it on a tricky user group.

We did our first round of testing with a basic survey conducted on Typeform to get an overview of potential customers -  do they freelance, which time tracking tools they are using now and how they feel about it - what should go and what should stay. We’ve received 33 responses in a few days.

The Survey helped us a lot and validated our impression that time tracking is time consuming and boring for most designers. Our next round of user testing included mostly face to face meetings and letting the users experience the fully finished prototype. Since we had a single user group we tested on five candidates. The information was gathered both by observing the user interact with the prototype as well as their impressions and ideas.

User testers were given scenarios - create a new project, input hours, create reports. We observed them, noticed where there are usability difficulties and later worked on improving the flow.

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We also took in all the advice and ideas for new features, some of them went nicely with our vision, some didn’t.

In conclusion, testing early and testing often gave us tremendously insightful information which helped us create a great time tracking app for designers.  

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