The importance of User Testing (even on a tight budget)
Conducting User Testing is critical to ensuring the usability of a product; it is important to do so even when the budget is limited.
Conducting user testing is crucial to ensure the usability of a product and optimize the user experience.
However, in many cases, especially in startup or small business contexts, the budget available is limited, and it may seem like a luxury to allocate resources and time to product usability. Nevertheless, precisely in these situations, it becomes even more critical to conduct user testing and use the available resources strategically.
So, what can you do if "there's no budget"?
Let’s go in order.
What is User Testing?
User Testing, also known as Usability Testing or UX Testing, is a process used to evaluate the effectiveness of interfaces and functions of a website, app, product or service. This is done by employing real users who perform specific tasks, experiencing real-life usage conditions. To ensure accurate results, it is important that testers do not receive overly precise instructions and are free to interact with the platform in a natural way, thus evaluating the product's ease of accessibility.
Unfortunately, many companies with the anxiety to finish and release the product as soon as possible tend not to consider this process because "there is no time".
And here we need to be clear.
Let's ask ourselves a question: does it take less time to make changes during the design phase or to edit the code on an already released product?
The correct answer is the first, both in terms of time and costs.
It is important, therefore, that before the product enters the development phase, it has been well validated by our end-users.
Okay, it's all good, but what if I don't have much budget anyway?
As you read, conducting this process requires a financial commitment that for a small business or startup may not be negligible. But there is always a solution to everything.
Remember to share the culture of testing
The first thing to do when testing a product with a limited budget - which may sound obvious - is to convince those who manage it of the importance of testing.
User Testing is an investment in both time and money, but it is important to explain how all this energy expenditure will be useful to us in the medium/long term, dispelling the myth of "looks good = works".
Investing in User Testing can save a lot of money, as a well-tested User Experience, which is user-friendly, converts users to your product with greater confidence.
Only by subjecting it to end-users can we understand what works and what doesn't.
Just explaining and sharing this type of information with decision-makers can lead to a step forward!
After convincing decision-makers of the importance of testing, let's see how we can find equally effective solutions that require less budget (and also less time).
It's important to remember that the "standard" testing process requires time and resources, from finding suitable users to offering them a reward, usually in the form of money, for their time and availability.
There are alternative solutions such as remote testing, where times and costs are significantly reduced, providing immediate and real-time results. Through testing platforms like Maze, you can upload your project prototype directly from your Figma file, create useful tasks for users to complete, generate a link, and you're almost done! You can then share the test with whomever you prefer, and in real-time, you'll see the results already sorted in the statistics that the platform provides.
Oh, and the most important thing: online testing programs often offer free plans that allow you to perform all the essential actions without having to upgrade to a paid plan!
"But how do I know if the users who took the test are perfectly in target?”
On this, you can't have absolute certainty, but it's important to remember that a test done maybe in a non-professional way is still better than no test at all.
One suggestion we can give is to share the test with communities that have target users. In any case, remember that in this mode, it will be necessary to do some data screening to obtain reliable results.
Not convinced about remote testing? Here's a more "do-it-yourself" solution.
Guerrilla testing is an in-person testing mode that doesn't require user recruiting, except at the moment when the tests are conducted. It can - and should - be conducted anywhere: on the street, outside universities, in a shopping mall, and people are asked to perform the tasks we have planned.
The strength of this alternative is to involve people naturally and ask them to test our product in real-time, having direct contact with our tester and real-time results.
In this situation, there is maximum freedom to attract people and give them a reward for conducting the test, so let's leave room for creativity here. For example, a formula that could work would be "if you test this feature for me, I'll buy you a coffee."
For any methodology we decide to use, it's essential to always keep in mind the ultimate goal: who will be the users? Who will use the product?
In this case, it's crucial to plan in advance how many responses we need to declare the success of user testing and the maximum time to conduct the process.
The simpler your testing goal is, the greater the chances of receiving a more in-depth analysis.
Have we convinced you to propose user testing even when there's no budget to the most reluctant clients?
We know it's not easy, but we're with you!
Do you need some advice or simply want to dive deeper into the world of user testing? Write to us!