Once you have decided on what to test and have recruited your participants, it’s time to prepare for your first user test.
Develop a discussion guide
To guide your discussion, start by outlining your goals for the testing session. Write out the key questions you want to ask, and list the user flows you want the participant to test.
Tip: Be sure and reference our User Testing Cheatsheet we’ll share in our next post. 😉
Next, we want to ensure our participants feel comfortable. It works best to write out what you’ll share as an introduction. Try explaining why you are testing with them and then ask a few warm up questions.
Example: Two of our favorite questions are “Tell me about your roll at Acme Security Co.” and “What is your biggest challenge in that position?” This allows you to learn more about why they fit the target audience.
Prepare realistic scenarios
Map out which screens of the prototype are part of the user flows you want to test. Make sure the data on each screen is a realistic scenario. This enables the tester to uncover specific use cases and allows them to imagine they are really using the product.
Example: You want the user to discover a security event, research it, and assign it to the correct team member for remediation.
Choose a format
User testing can be conducted remotely or in person. You testing set up will change depending on the medium you choose.
1. In person session
For in-person testing, choose a convenient, quiet location. Set up the device you'll use for the session and have the participant sit in front of it. Position yourself to the side so you can observe their interactions with the screen. An ideal in-person setup has the tester facing the prototype screen, with you viewing their facial expressions and body language from the side. This allows you to take notes on their reactions as they complete tasks.
2. Remote session
For remote testing via video call, the more likely scenario, find a quiet, distraction-free room. Having a second monitor can be helpful for taking notes while screen-sharing the prototype. Position your webcam to clearly capture your upper body and face for engaging in conversation.
Tip: We use loom to record our testing sessions, but any screen recording app will work.
Prepare the testing environment
Gather all the materials you’ll need. This will always include your discussion guide and questions. Depending on your stage of product development, you will need either a prototype, mockup, or the latest version of the product.
Another thing you shouldn’t forget to check is your internet. If remote testing, run a quick speed test to keep the testing session seamless
Run through the testing session after everything is set up to make yourself comfortable before the session.
Tip: We prefer to use Google Meet for our remote testing sessions.
Take a test run
Before the actual testing session, conduct a pilot test with at least one colleague or individual who is not involved in the project. This will help you identify any issues with the test plan, tasks, or materials before the main testing sessions.
You are ready to test
You’ve got this. Do it.
It all comes down to this
Your first user testing session can be intimidating, but it really does get easier every time. And it’s cliche but true – the best way to get better is to put in more reps.