Tight Budget? Discount Usability to the Rescue!

Test, test and test again. That’s a lot of testing. But what if you’re on a tight budget. How can you afford to dedicate resources to usability testing?

All is not lost. Usability testing is possible using a technique that is cheap, quick and can be done almost anywhere. This flexible method is called ‘Discount Usability Testing’.

Why You Need to Test

Usability testing uncovers problems of the design of a product using real life performance data. Discount usability testing is a simple method of achieving these goals. It’s main characteristic is that it favors a tight budget and is possible to set up at short notice.

It is a useful method for ensuring that certain functionality of the design works as it should. It also provides feedback on other important business assumptions. Testing can tell you the type of value your product provides or how customers comprehend your brand.

Get Out There and Test With People

Discount usability lends itself to speed for a few reasons. In formal usability tests, you need to recruit participants to take part. This can be a time consuming process. Discount usability testing cuts out all this time by approaching participants ‘in the wild’ so to speak. This could be as simple as going to your local coffee shop and asking people to take part in some quick tests for you there and then. While this means the test users may not be representative of target users, it will still provide useful feedback. Any testing is better than no testing.

As the testing is informal, the prototype itself can be as basic as a sketch on a piece of paper. The aim is to get feedback early and as quick as possible. It makes no sense spending lots of time building a prototype for testing when the testing itself needs to be quick. In fact using sketches or paper prototypes works better with discount testing, the basic nature of the design fits in to the ad hoc (to the participant) nature of approaching test participants in coffee shops, malls etc.

Finally, discount usability testing encourages testing throughout the product lifecycle. Since it’s both cheap to run and fast to set up, it can, and should run frequently.

In ‘The Art of Guerilla Usability Testing’ David Peter Simon talks about how to plan and conduct discount usability tests. There are no hard and fast rules about using discount usability tests (it’s main utility is it’s flexibility). But it is important to keep in mind the hints that he mentions in the article to ensure that the testing provides useful data.

When it comes to designing for the user experience, usability testing is something that you need to make time for. With discount usability testing, there can be no excuses.

Summary:

  • Usability testing does not have to be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Any testing is better than no testing.
  • Discount usability testing is a cheap and quick alternative to full usability lab testing
  • Reduce the time taken for usability testing by approaching users ‘in the wild’ rather than spending time formally recruiting them.
  • Use basic prototypes that can be built very quickly.
  • Since discount usability is both cheap to run and fast to set up, it should be run frequently. Testing should be carried out throughout the product lifecycle.

Learn From the UXBERTS

At UXBERT we offer hands-on training in each step of the user-centered design process. In our Usability Testing & Expert Reviews workshop, we will teach you all the basic tools and techniques you need to carry out effective usability testing on your product. We keep our class sizes small to deliver a complete learning experience so we have limited seats available. Buy your ticket through this link!

 

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