How to evaluate the design of your interactive map? Part 3: Organising user testing

21 june 2024

How to organise user testing

Now we know more about why we need to do testing and how to create a prototype (part 1 and part 2), let’s take a look at organising user testing. An important decision to make beforehand, is the kind of user testing you want to do: moderated vs unmoderated and remote vs in-person testing.

Unmoderated user testing involves no facilitator or interviewer and enables the user to perform the testing tasks by themselves. This reduces the effort on the facilitator side and makes it possible to test with a large number of people (although we mentioned in part 1 you only need five!). There are some challenges though:

  • You need to use some kind of (remote) testing tool or find another way to run scenarios and record feedback (more info about tools here).
  • You cannot guide the user like in a moderated test and they can misunderstand some of the tasks.
  • It is more challenging to ask extra questions or clarifications.
  • Users can be less motivated and get distracted.

Another thing to consider is whether to organise the user testing online or in person. Remote testing is very easy to set up and requires a limited amount of effort from both the participant and the facilitator. It also makes it very easy for colleagues to join and take notes or observe the user's behaviour. Participants can share their screen and you can see how they navigate your prototype or map application. In person meetings on the other hand can be very valuable for specific use cases. For example if the environment of the user may have an effect on the way he or she uses a map application, like when a person needs to orient themselves when using a navigation app. It can also be easier to read a person's body language when you are sitting or standing next to them in person. 

At Nazka Mapps, we are a big fan of remote moderated user testing. We often work on international projects with stakeholders all over the world. You can easily fit the user tests in the schedule of both the participant and the facilitator while still connecting with the user and getting valuable feedback. More explanation on this type of testing can be found in this article.

We recommend creating an interview script beforehand focused on the questions you want answered. Every conversation is different of course, and this is just a guideline for the facilitator. Start with some general questions to make the users feel at ease and afterwards guide them through the prototype. End the conversation with some concluding remarks like:

  • What did you especially like or dislike about the prototype?
  • If you could add one thing to the prototype (with no limits in budget or scope), what would it be?
  • Would you recommend this to your colleagues or friends?

Another pro tip for remote meetings: ask the participants for consent to record the user interviews. This will ensure you have something to fall back on when your notes are lost or incomplete.

In conclusion: just go for it and try out user testing in your next project. It does not have to be a big deal and will result in valuable learning. Happy user testing!

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