"Testing is an opportunity to learn, improve, and refine. It's not about finding faults, but about uncovering insights that lead to innovation and progress." - Steve Jobs


Testing is a critical phase in UX design. It involves gathering feedback from real users to evaluate the effectiveness and usability of your design. Conduct usability testing, user interviews, and surveys to identify any issues or improvements. The insights gained during this phase help refine and enhance your design.


Once you have refined your designs through testing, it's time to "Build." This phase involves creating the final product, whether it's a website, app, or another digital solution. Collaborate closely with developers to ensure the design vision is translated into a functional product.


The final phase, 'Measure', is all about assessing the impact of your design. Use metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to evaluate whether the project met its objectives. Analyse the feedback and data gathered during testing to make informed decisions for future iterations or improvements.

Various types of testing offer their own advantages and serve specific purposes. The choice of testing depends on the desired information, project budget, and available time. Understanding testing helps determine the most suitable approach for measuring product usability, ensuring comprehensive assessment.

User Testing vs Usability Testing

User testing and usability testing have slight distinctions depending on individual definitions. Usability testing is a component of user testing or UX testing. However, user testing goes beyond usability to assess how customers perceive their overall experience with a product, including their emotions and impression of the brand. While usability testing focuses on functionality and ease of use, user testing encompasses a broader understanding of the customer's feelings and impressions throughout their interaction with the product.

"Usability Testing 101" article by Nielsen Norman

Remote vs In-Person

Remote usability testing refers to testing conducted when the participant and researcher are in separate locations, facilitated by online tools. It can be moderated, with a researcher guiding the participant, or unmoderated, allowing participants to complete tasks independently. In contrast, in-person usability testing occurs face-to-face, where users perform tasks while being observed by a researcher. In-person testing enables real-time observation of users' body language and facial expressions. Remote testing offers convenience and scalability, while in-person testing provides direct interaction and nuanced insights. Both approaches have their advantages and are suitable for different research needs.

Moderated vs Unmoderated

Moderated usability testing involves a coordinator who stays in touch with the participant, either in-person or remotely. The coordinator closely supports the participant, assisting them throughout the research and addressing any queries or difficulties they encounter. This type of testing is well-suited for gathering qualitative data as the coordinator can observe the participant's facial expressions and body language, and ask additional questions when needed. On the other hand, unmoderated usability testing doesn't involve a moderator. Participants independently complete pre-designed tests at their own chosen time and location. It offers flexibility and convenience, typically requiring less time and people involved. Online usability testing tools facilitate unmoderated testing.

"Remote Usability-Testing Costs: Moderated vs. Unmoderated" article by Nielsen Norman Group

"Unmoderated User Tests: How and Why to Do Them" article by Nielsen Norman Group

Qualitative vs Quantitative

Qualitative research in user testing and usability testing involves gathering non-numerical insights about user experiences, behaviors, and attitudes, focusing on the "why" behind their actions. It provides descriptive findings that uncover user needs and motivations. In contrast, quantitative research gathers numerical data and measurable metrics to derive statistical insights, focusing on the "what" and "how many" aspects of user behavior. It allows for analysis at scale and provides statistical trends. Both approaches complement each other, with qualitative research providing in-depth understanding and quantitative research offering statistical generalization, forming a comprehensive picture in user research and testing.

"Quantitative vs. Qualitative Usability Testing" article by Nielsen Norman Group

Explorative vs Comparative

Explorative usability testing is focused on discovery and gathering open feedback from participants. It is an unstructured approach used in the early stages of product development to understand what works well, what needs improvement, and identify potential market niches and new features. This type of testing involves a smaller number of participants and aids in idea iteration. Comparative usability testing, on the other hand, involves comparing multiple versions of a product or interface to determine which offers a better user experience. It gathers data on user preferences and guides design decisions. Conducted with a larger number of users, it often involves structured tasks, and A/B testing is an example of this approach.

Formative vs Summative

Formative and summative testing are two broad categories of usability testing which are important to understand. Formative testing is qualitative and takes place earlier in the design or development process. Its purpose is to identify areas for improvement in the product. The findings from formative testing help in shaping prototypes and wireframes. On the other hand, summative testing is more quantitative and occurs later in the process. It aims to assess the effectiveness of the implemented solutions. The results of summative testing provide quantitative data that can guide broader improvements or specific fine-tuning, often in conjunction with competitive analysis.

"Formative vs. Summative Evaluations" article by Nielsen Norman Group

"Formative vs. Summative Usability Evaluation" video by Nielsen Norman Group

"Formative vs. summative research" by Nick Dauchot on Medium

Behavioural vs Attitudinal

Research can be broadly categorised into behavioural and attitudinal. Attitudinal research examines what people say and think about your product, while behavioural research focuses on their actual interactions and the emotions that arise. It's important to recognise that what people say and what they do can often diverge. Understanding these categories helps us select appropriate testing methods and better organise our findings.

Last updated