Learn what user testing methods are right for you during your stage of product development

User Testing is an integral part of the product development process and can save thousands of dollars when implemented correctly. Throughout the development lifecycle, product owners can often feel stuck when trying to imagine all the quirks a user needs from the solution. While having a grand vision for how a product can solve a problem is possible, understanding exactly how it will be used without talking directly to the user is not. If you’re new to User Testing, check out our Beginner’s Guide.

Fortunately, integrating User Testing into the development process is easy. User Testing encompasses a seemingly endless list of ways to engage users, attain their feedback, and set yourself up best for success. On average, testing 5 users can find 85% of user issues within a system. User Testing is easy to implement, information-rich and completely flexible. That’s why more and more companies are jumping to make it a part of their workflow. However, if you’re not familiar with User Testing, understanding when and how to do it in your project can be tough.

So When Should I Implement User Testing?

To put it simply: as soon as possible! Implementing User Testing early and often can help you identify problems and roadblocks before the project even gets fully conceptualized. Below you’ll find a breakdown of a few different ways you can do testing. Keep in mind that most of these tests are variable and can be implemented at any time during your product lifecycle!

Product Conception and Discovery

You’ve suddenly awoken in the middle of the night with a great idea for an innovative solution that could potentially change the way you work. Now what? As you begin to conceptualize your product and try to validate the idea, it’s a perfect time to conduct some preliminary research.

  • User Interviews - Sitting down with your target users to understand what their current problem is. Learning how important it is for them to have a solution can help you validate if the idea that's keeping you up at night might become a viable product.
  • Stakeholders Interviews - Speaking with other people who will be involved in the production of the product and understanding their motivations will help in clarifying product requirements and success metrics.
  • Ethnographic Interviews or Observation -  Watching your target users interact with technology you are looking to replace. Simply observing the way they behave in their current state can open up the opportunity to learn directly from them.
  • Card Sorting - Card sorting allows the user to group conceptual terms or system functions together to map out the structure of the system.

If you didn’t know already, Codelitt builds digital products for external partners as a service, but we also have our own internal product development arm! We integrate User Testing at the very beginning of each internal product we validate. Asking users and stakeholders non-leading questions has helped us validate our assumptions and provided invaluable insight into a product’s needs.

As a small firm that spends 95% of its time providing services to others, we need a systematic and repeatable way to quickly determine if an idea we have is viable before we divert our time, money, and resources to it.

Continuously During Design

Testing during the design phase helps identify missing functionality, the desired user flows, and the most requested features for your product. Implementing User testing continuously as the designs start to take shape can significantly increase your user’s understanding of the product.

  • Wireframe Testing - Sharing wireframes with users and asking if they can identify what’s on-screen can help identify misalignment.
  • Prototype Testing - Prototypes are a great way to test user’s expectations and if users can navigate through the product.
  • A/B Testing - Sharing multiple versions of a product or prototype can help test users’ understanding and desirability of the product.
  • First Click - Asking the user to click on what they encounter first will you help unblock the user and fix any user flows that might be too complicated.
  • 5-Second Test - Showing the screen to the user for a short time and asking them to identify what stuck out to them and if they understand its purpose can help you engage user adoption.

Implementing User Testing continuously throughout the design process allows for your product to be driven and essentially designed by the user. Asking what your users think of your product can help uncover your product’s hidden potential and allow your development team to mitigate the risk of going over budget with endless redesigns.

Before Launch

Whether your product is newly developed or you just have new features to unveil, User Testing before launch helps ensure your product is bug-free, usable, and ready to go. There are several types of testing you can employ at this point and, of course, continually throughout the product’s entire life cycle.

  • User Acceptance Testing (UAT) - This is a great way to test if users can use the system as intended.
  • Usability Testing - Testing the usability of the system can help identify any bugs or blocks the user might encounter.
  • Task Completion - Observing if your user can complete simple or complex tasks in the system can help you understand if there are any missing features still needed.
  • User Flow/Heat Mapping - Giving users a space to play around in the system can help you test your user flows and see which areas they use most frequently using heat maps.
  • Accessibility - Ensure you are compliant with any legal regulations and test to see if your site is accessible to the visually, physically, cognitively, or hearing impaired.

Testing users before launching the product can help align the development and design of the product and ensure it works as intended. MacAfee saved 90% in expenses after integrating usability testing to learn more about their customer's needs.

After Launch

Once your product is launched, you can continue testing users and engaging them in giving feedback on your product. Encouraging this feedback cycle will also be super impactful on improving your own user-centered design thinking process. Here are a few more ways to gather data post-launch.

  • Focus Groups - Asking several users to give feedback and share their experience in using the product helps draw out concerns they might not have voiced when asked individually.
  • Observation Interviews - Watching your users interact with the product in their everyday lives can help you identify system failures or alternate flows to ones that users prefer taking.
  • Surveys - No surprise, but simply asking users to share their experience with your product can provide valuable insight into what the system can do better.

Implementing User Testing after launch allows the product to evolve with the user's ever-changing needs. Continuously communicating with your users ensures the longevity of your product within your market!


There are so many ways to involve user testing and help improve your product's success. The key is speaking to users early, often, and having a methodology for implementing their feedback and findings into the product. When creating a product centered around the user, it's important to take the user's voice into account and continuously evaluate how your users will interact with the product.

Interested in more information on how to implement User Testing? Get in contact with us!

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