3 great myths about the UX tests

23 January 2015, Małgorzata Traczyk

Pricey? Time consuming? Done at the last possible moment? There are so many myths concerning the usability testing that only the UX experts know the truth. It is different in reality – usability testing is within reach of most companies. Despite that these myths are deeply rooted in the minds of the people. Most common are these:

Myth no.1: UX research is costly

“Costly” may describe both the price of the research but also the cost of the extending work on the project. Sure, research is not free. Still, these are not the astronomical costs when compared with the entirety of the project. Remote research is much less expensive than conventional laboratory work and a single test can be ordered at even 150$.
Usability testing conducted at the proper stage (or regularly repeated before the project is launched) allows significant savings in different fields. Such tests cut the time required by designers, showing them which elements of their work require improvement. They also simplify the IT Department’s work, which instead of modifying the entire project, introduces updates earlier.

Myth no.2 UX testing is time consuming

Clearly, more time is needed when it comes to more complicated tests. Still, according to Jakob Nielsen’s experience, regular, small scale tests are much more efficient than a single wide-range research (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/parallel-and-iterative-design/). Results can be acquired after getting answers from the first testers – so after only a few hours. Nielsen points out that in five testing turns most of the problems regarding UX are solved. This means that with reasonable planning and testing it is possible to research the updates almost instantly after introducing them, until reaching the site’s version that users consider optimally useful and comfortable.

Myth no.3: UX testing only makes sense before the product’s release

Testing the product in its final stages helps perhaps only to irritate the designers. It may appear that all the work put in the project made absolutely no sense. At best it transpires that there are many corrections to be introduced on a finished, complete product. Which, in turn, means that these changes will be costly and complicated. At worst, the product is utterly useless, which fact avoided the attention of the company focused on developing it.
Websites can be tested at any time – from the most basic samples, through functional wireframes and up to the finished product having a complete graphic design. The earlier the problems are discovered, the easier it is to introduce the corrections. It is possible for such testing to save the company from a completely missed investment or a catastrophic change, which would significantly weaken the business.

Product Manager w Uxerii. Poprzednio zajmowała się projektowaniem aplikacji mobilnych, a następnie zdalnymi badaniami z użytkownikami na stanowisku UX Specialist w Fundacji Obserwatorium Zarządzania. Członek grupy roboczej Usability (IAB).