Skill Highlight: User Testing

Editor’s note: User Testing is now being acknowledged more and more by companies as an essential part of the business.  However, the labour market is not yet flooded with people skilled in the area.  By identifying a small skills gap like this you can educate yourself in more relevant and useful skills. 

User Testing is one of the main roles in a User Experience (UX) department, and is the most effective method for evaluating the overall usability of your product.  Conducting user tests can take time and effort to set up, but the reward is definitely worth it.  You can’t predict how users will interact with your product until you see them in action.

It’s great to see user testing become more prominent and frequent, especially in web design.  As a result, many new jobs are created every day for people with UX skills.  It’s different for all companies – some may have a dedicated person or even a whole team working on UX, but for others it’s a small part of one person’s role.  Either way it’s a skill worth developing.

My advice is to dive in and get learning.  A great article to start with is this review of usability and user experience testing tools by Smashing Magazine.  Also, check out my previous post on the 7 essential steps for in-person testing.  Whatever process you choose, be sure to work with an experienced tester. They should be familiar with the overall process, and have a confident approach to the method.  Choosing your testers wisely will help produce very rewarding results.

Using SkillPages to collaborate with user experience professionals is a great way to learn from others.  When you are ready to share what you know, create a SkillPage for your relevant UX skill.  Keep it updated with work examples or anything that demonstrates your knowledge.  It really is worthwhile – after all I was hired because of my SkillPages’ profile!

For advice on how to manage your SkillPages’ profile, read the 8 tips to get your skills found.

Also, feel free to get in touch with me.

– Deirdre Kelly – User Experience Specialist at SkillPages

Posted on December 26, 2011, in Skill Highlight and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Also try conducting real time live User Testing (such as http://www.usertesting.com) to see what real website users really think while they use your website. You wont believe what can be learned.