The Costs of Slow Research
Today, most organizations do employ a usability-research process, leading to more dedicated research teams focusing on engaging users. However, research is frequently slow, confined in its scope, and expensive. A typical usability study takes over 100 hours to complete and costs more than $10,000. Despite having such a heavy time and budget commitment, product or design teams often have limited resources. A study from the Nielsen/Norman Group shows that the average researcher-to-designer-to-developer ratio is 1:5:50. Research from HubSpot tells us that 42% of companies fail to collect customer feedback because of the large commitment of resources that it requires.
Because of a lack of resources and the expensive process that is necessary to gather usability data effectively, many businesses choose not to perform UX research, limiting their understanding of the user experience. As a result, organizations might introduce design concepts that are completely ineffective or that don’t meet user expectations or needs. In the end, the price of launching the wrong concept can be a huge waste of resources, harm to their brand reputation, and additional costs to fix issues.
How Rapid Usability Testing Eliminates Research Bottlenecks
Gathering rapid user feedback eliminates the issues of time restrictions, overworked teams, rushing to meet tight deadlines, and a lack of insights. Often, researchers get hired or are assigned to a project after the team has already identified the final design concept. By then, it may be too late to incorporate usability data and, as a result, the final product suffers and the business loses value.
This is why companies should embrace a test early, test frequently mentality. By gathering insights more quickly, at a lower cost, they can eliminate unnecessary trade-offs and make educated decisions about designs more quickly. Most unmoderated tests require a smaller sample size, but thanks to built-in user panels, researchers can gather research from any number of participants they need. Plus, you can do testing wherever and whenever you want, using on-demand, remote, unmoderated platforms. Gathering the feedback you need can take less than an hour, giving your team more time to study, adjust, and improve design concepts. Rapid usability testing enables organizations to test early and often, conducting cost-effective, quick testing that lets them gather all the data they need to advise the product team and the business.
The findings from the usability research can help product teams make improvements to products or services and create a better user experience. Quantitative data, including completion rates, error rates, and other statistical data, can inform design decisions. In contrast, the qualitative data that you gather through rapid testing tells your team why specific elements or designs are better than others.
Research bottlenecks can drastically hurt businesses, result in ineffective research, or lead to a general of lack of investment in research projects. With all the benefits of rapid usability testing, it is clearly a valuable process that every team should add to their toolkit.
Conducting Rapid Usability Testing
At each stage of the design process, Lean and agile teams need quick access to user feedback to develop a thorough understanding of users. Everyone in the organization needs the resources to conduct usability testing and learn from participants, enabling them to meet user expectations.
Instead of launching a test and waiting days or weeks for results, rapid testing platforms provide the same valuable feedback in less time and on a smaller budget. Simply choose a platform to test on, identify your testing tasks, and start gathering real usability data. To conduct an effective usability study, your team should follow these steps:
- Choose a testing platform. Many remote-testing platforms let you to gather rapid feedback. Do some research and find the platform that best fits the needs of your organization.
- Choose a testing template or method. Most platforms have built-in templates that allow you to quickly design a usability test. But you’ll probably need to identify your testing goals and craft the testing tasks that you want to analyze.
- Identify the audience and the number of participants necessary. The best remote-testing tools use a testing panel and offer advanced criteria and segmentation to get feedback from participants who represent your target audience. You also need to decide how many participants would give you enough feedback for statistical significance, so you can have confidence in the results.
- Review and launch your test plan. The last step before launching your testing is reviewing your test plan, ensuring that all tasks are doable, you aren’t testing too many variations at once, and everything is set up to your specifications. Once you’ve reviewed and launched your plan, all you have to do is sit back and wait for the results to roll in.
- Analyze your results. The final and possibly most important step in rapid usability testing is analyzing the results. Most platforms provide an easy-to-understand results dashboard that presents all the data. You can also export the data and analyze it using third-party tools. Make sure that you look at all the data, but your focus should be on qualitative feedback that would inform your design decisions and help you identify new opportunities and issues that participants have encountered.
Following these key steps when performing rapid usability testing can help a business gather actionable insights and create products that are tailored to their target audience. This process can also help mitigate or eliminate bottlenecks because the team doesn’t have to wait long for the data. Plus, the cost of conducting testing is drastically reduced.
When your organization begins a new project, plan to do some early, rapid usability testing on your design concepts. You could even do some rapid usability testing in addition to your traditional testing. When you commit to rapid testing from the start, you’ll find that product teams hit fewer roadblocks, are more dedicated to the project, and produce a better final product. Your team is more efficient, resulting in better decisions for the entire business. Testing remotely for rapid insights often reveals new ideas and identifies issues that you haven’t discovered before and might never have considered. This helps the business come up with even better products, services, and solutions.