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[[!meta title="Guidelines for user testing"]]

User testing is an irreplaceable tool to understand user experience and
take decisions while doing design iterations. Here are a few guidelines
to take the most of it.

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See also:

  - [Group Notetaking for User Research](https://www.nngroup.com/articles/group-notetaking/)

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1. Prepare the test:

   - Provide a mouse and a desktop keyboard because not everybody is
     comfortable with laptop keyboards and touchpads.
   - Prepare gifts for the participants. For example USB sticks,
     stickers, etc.

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1. Welcome the tester:

   - Do a little icebreaker to present yourself, gather context information about the tester and make everybody at ease.
   - Explain the context of the user experience up to the point where the test starts.
   - Don't explain what you are going to test, nor its intended results.
   - Explain the methodology of the test:
       - Designers are not testing the tester but the product.
       - Designers will not answer the tester's questions.
       - Tester should speak out loud.
       - Tester should express their doubts.
       - Designers want to read the tester's mind.

1. Conduct the test:

   - Designers should be two people working in a team:
     - One interacting with the tester:
       - Presents the test.
       - Ask questions:
         - Always ask open questions.
         - Ask questions about past information (possibly after closing the screen).
       - Never answers to questions.
     - One taking notes:
       - Describe the tester.
       - What is the tester saying or experiencing.
       - What is the tester doing, step by step.
       - Do not interpret yet what's going on.

   - Debrief the test with the tester:
     - Global feeling
     - Go back to key points
     - Listen to ideas only to better understand problems

   - Doing multiple tests:
     - If testing different prototypes, alternate the order.
     - All tests after the first one will be biased.
     - Don't reuse testers to test the same design.

1. Debrief after each test:

   - Check notes.
   - List issues or points of interest from note taking:
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     - In a spreadsheet (called *rainbow table*):
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       - Lines are issues.
       - Columns are testers.
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     - See these examples rainbow tables from testing
       [*Tails Greeter*](https://tails.boum.org/blueprint/greeter_revamp_UI/rainbow_-_greeter_-_20151105.ods)
       and the [*Installation Assistant*](https://labs.riseup.net/code/attachments/download/1245/ux-testing-20151120.ods)
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   - Compact information.
   - Don't modify your design yet!

1. Interpret the results after all tests:

   - Sort issues by frequency.
   - Target the three most frequent issues in your next design iteration.