Why User Testings Sometimes Don’t Matter
The fact that people need to test their designs to the users don’t make it a long-term commitment. Testing designs can never be the single most defining metric there can be in making a successful design.
It can be helpful in validating some ideas, but not every idea. One annoying thing about user testings is that it validates just how naive and biased users can be. I mean it: not every user is smart enough. Of course, not every designer or team is smart enough, either. However, the danger is with throwing all responsibility to the user testing. “Let’s test it and find out, then use whatever result that comes in.” This is absolutely disposable.
Designers and product teams are largely responsible in the product design direction, not even the business team, not even the engineering team, not even the customers. If you always validate your things with the customers, your product becomes shaped solely like them. You can never have a solid product. You can never have a vision to realise. You’ll only be following the crowd.
Imagine this scenario. A sign up page. The main purpose of this page is to sign up. Then, you’d like to test if somebody would bother to read the Terms & Conditions. Let’s say the business team, or the government mandates that you have the users read Terms & Conditions — not just a checkbox that says you have read them, they actually have to open the page and scroll down to agree.
As a designer, your instinct is to make everything clear, but clean. In no way you’d make Terms & Conditions link more prominent than the others.
During testing, 5 out of 7 users fail to locate the Terms & Conditions link within 2 minutes. They say, “it’s too small to discover quickly.”
In this case — the natural solution would be to make the Terms & Conditions link more prominent, or maybe, you’d give a shot at flashing the Terms & Conditions upfront as a popup.
That, if you take only the 5 out of 7 statistics as the final defining result. It ruins the design, and the flow.
What would be the better flow? Tell a story, maybe? Use a wizard format, perhaps? Make it simpler and fun to follow a “story” or a “flow”?
Imagine a flow where we ask the users in short, sweet, simple dialogue to sign up one stage at a time.
“Welcome to xBanking! Let’s sign up to discover and enjoy seamless banking. What’s your name?”
“Great! Thanks. Now, what are your details?”
By the end of it, you’d ask them, “Some nitty-gritty details we’d like you to read and agree with. It’s always cool to be compliant!”
Then the user clicks agree.
Design decision like this is the ultimate job of a designer or product team, and that cannot be defined solely by user testings. User testings only discover the problem — and somehow validate it.