Testing Your Product with Real Users — A Must-Do That’s Easier Than You Think

Ewuranna Smith-Quayson
5 min readDec 4, 2023
Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Have you ever used a product that made you think, “This is so unintuitive!” or watched someone struggle to do basic tasks on a website you designed?

Those frustrating experiences exist because the products were not sufficiently tested with real users ahead of time. Usability testing can uncover those issues before you launch, saving you from problems that damage your brand and turn off customers.

But it also does much more than just identify problems. Observing actual people try to use your product provides invaluable insights into how they think, what they want, and where the design can improve in ways you and your team would never realize on your own.

So don’t just make assumptions about what your users need or want. Put your product in front of them early and often to truly see it from their perspective.

I’m going to walk you through how to make usability testing an easy, cost-effective, and even fun part of your design process. You’ll uncover the flaws and opportunities you’ve been blind to, and gain the confidence that your product delivers an experience your customers will love.

Wait, What Exactly is Usability Testing?

Let’s start with the basics. Usability testing means bringing in people who represent your target users to complete typical tasks on your product while you observe them.

As they work through tests, you watch how they interact with your product. You time how long tasks take. You note where they struggle and where they breeze through. You see their facial expressions when they get confused. You ask questions when they give up in frustration.

In other words, you put yourself in their shoes to experience your product from their perspective.

The data you gather from user tests shows you:

  • How understandable and intuitive your product is
  • How easy or difficult key tasks are
  • How long tasks take compared to what you’d expect
  • The specific parts that trip people up or delight them
  • How satisfied users are with the overall experience

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Ewuranna Smith-Quayson

I write about my experiences, lessons, discoveries, stories I make up in my head, business stories and “how to” pieces. [Web Developer & Automation Lead by day]