Just when you think the Internet has reached it’s peak, you come across this – user testing videos. There is a lot of good practice about when it comes to web design, user interfaces and functionality. However, there is also a lot of bad practice. We take for granted when a website is easy to use, but we really notice when there is an issue – and this is often enough to put us off visiting the same website again.
In this article I am going to introduce you to user testing videos, and specifically to sites like UserTesting.com. When you understand what they do, you will see how user testing videos can be a real help when wanting to improve website performance.
It is worth mentioning that UserTesting.com boasts over 20,000 happy customers who include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, Adobe, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo… you get the drift. For those of you who hadn’t heard of user testing videos, this gives an insight in to how widely it is being used and hints at the benefits it offers to businesses.
How user testing videos work
User testing videos are a way to understand, in depth, what the experience of your website (or app or game) is like for your visitors. User testing videos allow you to watch how users are interacting with your website, whilst they talk through the process (and why they make the choices they make), giving you great insight into how your website is received by real people. UserTesting.com has a number of USP’s, which include the fact that this information can be gathered within an hour, without costing you a fortune.
1 Select the product or process that you want to test (e.g. maybe you need to test whether or not your new interactive events calendar is working).
2 You are then prompted to create a series of tasks and questions that you want users to complete. UserTesting.com offers a task bank and templates to help those of us who are struggling with asking the right questions.
3. You then select testers to match your target market. UserTesting.com has approximately one million panel members – meaning it should be easy to find testers that match your audience. Criteria for testers include the usual demographics such as age, gender, income, but you can also be more specific – e.g. students in London.
You can also include a customized post-test questionnaire.
4. At this stage, the test is carried out and you don’t have to do anything. Just await the results.
5. When the testing is complete, you can review and share the user testing videos that have been generated for you. This includes options to navigate through them individually, or task by task. There is a handy tool that allows you to add notes and create clips – so that you can collate relevant parts for your own purposes. You might want particular clips for a PowerPoint presentation, to give one example. The platform allows you to easily share clips and notes with colleagues, clients and so on. You can also ask the tester follow up questions if needed.
How Evernote uses user-testing videos
Here is a video about how Evernote uses UserTesting.com – it gives a real sense as to how it can be integrated into a business and offer a valuable contribution to the website development process:
Benefits of user testing videos
The benefits of this tool are obvious – as they put it themselves, “real feedback, real people, real fast”. What makes it particularly special is the qualitative essence to the feedback – because it does involve real people. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics or Crazy Egg are great, but user-testing videos really fill in the gaps – they can offer specific answers to questions that Analytics would find impossible to answer (because it only offers quantitative data).
Here is an example of a montage which has collated the experience of a few users of a particular mobile website:
Pricing of user testing videos
Pricing for the service depends on whether you want to test on a mobile or on a personal computer. Although, currently, the prices are the same and there is a discount available. Even for a small business, the price is reasonable given the value of the insight that the results can offer you – especially as it is possible to select participants who match your target audience so perfectly.
Budget around £400 and you will get 12 videos which will be enough to give you a good idea of what is going on – it will take you a good while to watch them and take notes so be prepared for a day spent doing this.
UserTesting.com has a sense of humour too. I will leave you with this video that they made about opening up their testing panel to… cats.
User Testing Videos Improve Website Performance