UX Testing Workshop Recap

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Presenters talk about UX testing techniques to attendees on a Saturday afternoon in Arlington.

“How can we be better at user experience testing?”

We answered that question at the UXPA DC User Experience (UX) Testing Workshop on Saturday, April 12 at the Mediabarn User Experience Lab in Arlington. Local experts from leading usability labs addressed how to plan, conduct, and analyze user experience tests.

For the first half of the workshop, Sara Mastro, Senior Director of Experience Design at Mediabarn and Caroline Little, Lead User Experience Researcher at SPARK Experience, shared their wisdom about why we test and how we should plan our tests. The nuggets of their message? A good test requires preparation. When done right, it gives us insight into user behavior and preferences, it helps us understand what and how to design, and it reveals whether or not what was designed was designed correctly.

In the afternoon, speakers focused on more advanced topics. Andrew Schall, VP of User Experience at SPARK Experience, provided tips for how to deal with troublemaker test participants like The Mute who barely answers questions and certainly doesn’t think aloud. (Hint: ask The Mute lots of close-ended questions.) Andrew also took everyone out of their comfort zone with a laughter-inducing moderation exercise. Have you ever experienced a test participant whose hamster just died?

Jen Romano Bergstrom, User Experience Research Leader at the Fors Marsh Group rounded out the afternoon with insight on how to sift through test results and communicate recommendations. She’s a proponent of using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative techniques to get a full view of how a design is performing. She reminded us that our clients are the end users of our testing services. Users don’t take the time to read and neither do our clients. So make your reports concise.

In summary, we can be better at user experience testing by:

  • taking the time to think through and plan our research
  • keeping cool and staying professional
  • getting to the point when we share our results with clients

So, with that advice, I wish you happy testing, everyone!

Interested in more UXPA DC events like this one? Check out the UXPA DC events page.

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