College today is a vastly different world than the college life experienced ten, or even five years ago. The exciting thing about college nowadays is that students are fostering a sense of entrepreneurship from the get-go, which leads them to preparing business plans to launch a startup or product immediately post-graduation. Currently, some college students are even launching startups while balancing a full-course load. We think that this amazing, but we want these rising entrepreneurs to remember one important step when considering launching a startup or product, and that step is usability testing.

 

Designing and developing a product can be a lengthy and expensive process. Thankfully, usability testing is now being incorporated into this process because the value that it can add to the development of your product is paramount. But, because a formal usability study can be expensive and add time onto the already lengthy process, some startups are turning to DIY or lean usability testing solutions.

 

So even if you’re a razor thin budget, you should still test as it may help save on valuable time and money down the line.  You may want to consider checking out websites that provide usability testing software, like usertesting.com. Usability testing fast and at a low cost – yes please! But, one should use caution before relying on these DIY solutions to determine major decisions for your product.  These should just be used to help with baseline findings.

 

Ask yourself these questions in relation to any DIY usability testing that may have been done for your product:

  1. Did I target the right audience when performing my testing?
  2. Was I able to remove all bias from testing?
  3. Am I able to analyze the testing results?
  4. Can I develop recommendations on how user experience can be improved?     

Although these DIY solutions can offer viable results for intermittent testing, a formal usability study should be used for your product pre-launch and at major milestones to ensure that your product is meeting and succeeding user expectations.

 

There are numerous research facilities that specialize in usability testing and have the resources to perform eye tracking, remote user testing, focus groups and stakeholder interviews. Formal usability studies are conducted in a User Experience Lab by researchers who specialize in UX leads to an in depth report and analysis of your product with professional recommendations on how you can improve your product for users.

 

At the end of the day, usability testing brings great value to the development of any product and it is important that it is being completed either formally or informally. Usability testing helps you to better understand your user, identify hazards and hang-ups, and see your product in a whole new light.

 

Have more questions about usability testing or product research? Feel free to ask Mediabarn! We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.  

Emily Spillar

About Emily Spillar

Emily holds a background in public relations and marketing and is helping lead the charge with Mediabarn’s social media and outreach. Prior to Mediabarn, she held the position of Marketing Coordinator at a boutique marketing and advertising agency. Through her time at the agency, she learned how to effectively communicate…
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