a web thing


UX Myth #22

UX Myth 22 Usability testing is expensive
UX Myth #22

usability tests can be both fast and relatively cheap
Zoltán Gócza on UX Myths

Truth be told, I haven’t had much experience with user testing in the agency world of design. This has been very frustrating, as I read about what UX Design properly does, but poor communication to clients and living by the aforementioned myth of cost seems to result in never allocating time for testing. As a designer-academic, I make the most informed decisions possible for website or app design. Unfortunately, humans aren’t predictable or logical and some basic “gorilla user testing” can go a long way to curb unexpected mishaps or enlighten a fresh approach.


Yep. One morning on my way to work, the train broke down in the tunnel (no fun), but after a few minutes it became strangely difficult to ignore the people sitting next me – an interesting behavioral observation on its own. I was already playing with a private test version of an iPhone app I had been working on in my department at the time, and decided to ask the person next to me what she thought of it. I spat out a quick disclaimer – oh it’s super beta, just for testing, but I’m curious how someone new might use it – and I gave her my phone. She first marveled at the novelty of the core functionality of the app, but in a matter of seconds I noticed that she didn’t explore as much as we had expected – not tapping on a settings button meant missing out on a majority of the app. The train started up again, and I got to work a half an hour late, but those few minutes provided us with excellent (and free) insight.

Simple. All the client/agency has to do is ask for it. It may not be free, as time = money, but it can be cheap. For any remaining confusion, I have three letters that any businesses should be able to grasp: ROI.

For a detailed justification and suggested approaches of affordable usability testing, read Guerrilla HCI by Jakob Nielsen, or at least skim the points made in section five. Also, please visit the inspiration for this post: UX Myths.

le mieux est l’ennemi du bien
The best is the enemy of the good; Voltaire