Links and articles about technology, design, and sociology. Written by Rian van der Merwe. Follow @RianVDM
Obox and the power of usability testing
One of the hardest things we have to do as a User Experience Design agency is to sell usability testing to clients. The concerns are usually some combination of the following:
- It will take too long (no, it won’t).
- It’s too expensive (not if you consider the potential ROI).
- You can’t learn much from 6 users (yes, you can).
But we keep at it, because we know that if we’re successful in our efforts to convince clients to try it just once, we’ll never have to sell it to them again. It’s a methodology that completely sells itself. Once a client sees real users struggle with their product, they immediately become believers and staunch evangelists of usability testing.
The situation was a little different for a recent project we worked on with Obox, creators of premium WordPress themes. They came to us already sold on the benefits of usability testing, they just needed our help with research design and execution, and to work with them on some of the design recommendations based on the data we collect.
Yesterday, CEO and co-founder David Perel did a write-up of the project where he explained the process and the changes they’ve made. It’s great to see such an open discussion about how they are implementing their relentless pursuit of delivering value to their users. And even though they already understood the value of usability testing going into the project, I still loved this sentence from The User Experience Experiment:
The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how good looking your site is. Watching a layman use your product will blow your mind. You cannot even begin to imagine how your users interact with it.
If that’s how they reacted, just imagine the power such a revelation can have on people who don’t believe in the method. David also says this in his post:
We’ve been so taken aback by what we learned that when we looked for new office space, the most important requirement was that it had an extra room for user testing.
I know this means that they won’t need to hire us again, but I don’t care. That type of full-scale adoption of user-centered design makes me infinitely happy.
Be sure to read the full post, it’s a great case study.