In our twelve years of business, we’ve done a variety of types of research both before a project begins as well as during, and of course after launch. Zaudhaus supports research and usability testing at various stages of a project . For most of our software interface design projects, we recommend doing research and user-testing at several stages of a project in order to validate thinking and close on core milestones.
At the end of the day, it is often dependent on the the level of confidence our clients and we have with the concepts being developed as well as the budgets available. With development cycles in modern-day product design being so rapid, we’ve also had great success as well simply getting to market quickly with a quality experience, and then making adjustments quickly.
We follow a simple 3-step approach to preparing and executing these investigations.
We first develop a plan or approach based on the questions we wish to answer as well as based on what we plan to do with the information we get. So many organizations don’t plan for the latter – i.e. actually what they are going to DO with the information once they get it. Instead, they find answers, make recommendations, and then do not have a plan for how to implement. This wastes time and money for the customer.
Next, develop a script or plan for how we plan to test the product. A script could be a simple storyboard – explaining a particular task. It might be a survey of questions to have answered based on exploring a Web site or software application. Ultimately, the plan is how we will get the answers we seek. The plan also identifies the audience of people we wish to involve in the testing.
We’ll then develop materials necessary for the review – either prototypes, paper or live, and any related documentation that might be useful for the review. Testing and research is generally done on a 1-1 basis, and once a session is complete, we revised as much of what is being tested as possible, so we can benefit from the gathered information and refine the test. This approach yields the best possible information.
Finally, we take the raw data gathered – i.e. feedback, annotations, even video recordings – and we create a final summary of observations and recommendations. This document not only summarizes what we witnessed during the testing, but also includes our assessment and recommendations for steps to take based on what we learned. We find that we can get quality information for complex product interface projects from 5-7 well-qualified testers. This allows us to get great information quickly at a reasonable price.