Is It Time To Test Your New Product’s Usability? 13 Tech Experts Weigh In

January 8th, 2019 by blogadmin Leave a reply »

The new product development cycle can be quite complex, especially when it comes to technology. There’s a lot of planning, testing and tinkering that must happen before a tech product is ready to hit the market, and sometimes it requires going back to the drawing board.

An essential step in this process is usability testing, which helps determine whether a product functions as expected or whether it needs additional fine tuning. But how do you know the right time to begin this testing? To find out, we asked a group of Forbes Technology Council members to share their opinions.

  1. The Idea Is On Paper

You should test as early as there is a hypothesis to validate. Usability testing should start with sketches and low-fi prototypes as early as an idea is vetted within the company walls. Earlier feedback always provides extremely valuable insight, not only to usability, but also in gauging interest for the new product. – Bruno Guicardi, CI&T

  1. Code Is Being Written

If there is code being written, you should be testing usability. This usability testing not only covers your customers, but also your developers and any internal team member who interacts with the product or codebase. This is imperative to keep your velocity high and make an easy transition to focusing on usability testing for your customer without taking steps backward. – Philip Hutchins, Storj Labs Inc.

  1. The First Mock-up Is Ready

It’s best to start usability testing from the very beginning — from the very first wireframe and mock-up you have. Otherwise, you are just assuming. Early usability testing could help you observe the way users will interact with your product and what their struggles, concerns and biggest needs would be. – Ivailо Nikolov, SiteGround

  1. You Have Users

You’re ready as soon as you have users. A lesson Y-Combinator taught me is that to make something people want, you should be exercising two important things: talking to users and building the product. They’re both important, but talking to users is the first step in testing usability. If you’re not doing it, start now, and then move on to more formal processes when needed. – Russell Smith, Rainforest QA, Inc

  1. You Have Basic Criteria for Usability

Finding out the user group on both edges of the consumer spectrum would be the first key step to test readiness for usability. The usability findings matrix formed by these user groups against the mock model of the product should be vetted against the intermediate product outcomes to see if they surpass the 80/20 rule that is set as the gating criteria for usability. – Shafeer Badharudeen, Attinad Software

  1. Tasks Are Ready For a User to Complete

Usability testing should start as soon as there are tasks for a user to complete, because the earlier that product teams can start getting feedback from users on what they are building, the better. Early testing can be as simple as informal “hallway” testing using paper prototypes. As the product matures, the testing can take advantage of a more formal, structured series of tests. – Peter Mourfield, TaxSlayer

  1. You’re moving Into Beta Mode

With today’s compressed production cycle, usability testing should begin as soon as possible to ensure an effective product launch. Once a product hits beta testing, it should go to the field with trusted clients. This provides a 360-degree test of the product’s usability and powerful insight into how the product will fare in the real world. There is no substitute for a real-world product test. – Paul Ryznar, OPS Solutions, LLC

  1. You Have A Diverse User Base Willing To Test

Test with a wide variety of users. Validating the user’s experience for things like visual contrast, large fonts and screen reader support are critical to ensuring that all your customers have a great experience. If your product supports multiple languages, there is nobody better to validate that your translations are on point than a native speaker. – Amy Czuchlewski, Bottle Rocket

  1. You Need To Test Any Of The Features

Usability testing is not a one-time event. It should be embedded throughout the lifecycle as necessary and applicable. There is nothing more costly or disappointing than to find that a strong, feature-rich application with good business logic is not intuitive. When this happens, adoption suffers. And sometimes it is too costly and too late to adjust for usability. – Mohamad Zahreddine, TrialAssure

  1. You’re approaching Your Minimum Viable Product Goals

Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, said, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Pre-launch, teams should set the readiness bar even lower for usability testing — and itch for feedback. Define your minimum viable product goals at the outset of the design and start usability testing well before you’ve hit those goals so your assumptions can be challenged. – Evan Kohn, Pypestream

  1. Your User Interface Is Ready

It’s important you build the user interface features of the product first, which enables the usability testing. All core features need not be functional at this point in time; minimal features enabling the user to start interacting with the product and letting them experience the core features by mocking them helps us understand how intuitive it is to use, avoiding fixes post-launch. – Sujeeth Kanuganti, Aira Tech Corp

  1. You Have Incorporated the Needs and Wants of a Beta Panel

Usability highly depends on your testing the market for your product. The idea is to kill two birds with one stone. When you find an intersect of needs and wants from a beta panel of users you are targeting, develop what will satisfy both customers. Keep your beta customers engaged, show and tell, iterate. Be humble and agile every step of the way and you will be ready for widespread testing. – Waije Coler, InfoTracer

  1. You’re At Any Point in The Process

You should always test usability, from the first sketches made on paper to the very last point of the design. There’s no “correct moment” to do it; everything you do in a design process should be user-oriented, which means being fully aware of how they will interact with the product. If you’re not testing usability throughout the whole process, you’re working in the dark. – Nacho De Marco, BairesDev

Source: All the above opinions are personal perspective on the basis of information provided by Forbes and contributor Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/01/02/is-it-time-to-test-your-new-products-usability-13-tech-experts-weigh-in/#36af5aa525b2

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