As a Product Designer myself, process is part of my job scope to ensure we understand our users at all times.

Every time before I ended, I would approached for feedbacks of the session. For example, do they feel my communication is unclear? Is everything taking too long? Prototype is not clear enough? And things like that. But all feedbacks I got were pretty positive. However, I know this can be due to various reasons. So in order for me to see how can I improve the process holistically, I decided to be a participant instead, because that is the easiest way for me to put myself in users’ shoes to see what’s good and bad.

A few months ago I volunteered myself to participate in a usability testing session organised by to test on one of their new product feature. The overall experience as a participants was good, thus I’m sharing some of the plus points that you can consider if you are planning for the next usability testing in your company.

1. Easy Scheduling 📆

They dropped me an email with Calendly, a scheduling tool for me to choose the preferable date & time slots. Few clicks, voila! So simple. No more back-and-forth emails.

2. Well Prepared! ⏱

An hour before the usability testing, I received an email from the UX designer with some documents to sign and also an app update that was released privately just for the testing purpose. This is extremely very important to ensure both parties are fully prepared before the session starts to ensure a smoother session later.

3. Workable Prototypes 🛠

As mentioned above, I’m quite impressed that they provided me with an almost fully workable prototypes. Because what we did usually is to provide users with Invision prototypes with pre-defined hotspots, instead of workable one. With a workable prototypes, it’s a lot more accurate to observe users interaction & behaviours. Everything is a also much more self explanatory and less guidance areneeded. (Of course, a few folds more of time are invested in, so make sure to have that sense of timeline in the first place.)

4. Show Empathy to Participants 💙

Me and the designer were located exactly at both different side of the world. Because of the geographical factors, my session started in the afternoon and it was close to midnight her. Be it in the context of time, language or whatever you can think of, always put your participants at the topmost priority.

5. Listen.👂🏼

Willing to listen is one of the trait to look for in a designer. That time I did most of the talking and she just listened and busied writing down notes.. A tip for designers out there, if you are doing any form of user research work, provide a good start and let your users do the rest. Only interrupt at the right time. Also, don’t be defensive when your participants critique your design.

6. Reward Them 🎁

Like I said at the beginning, I volunteered to help because I want to learn and also contribute a little to a product that I’m using. I don’t expect any kind of return. But again, who doesn’t like free stuffs, right?! 😀 They sent me Amazon gift card and some really cute Overflow stickers(that I really want before this!).

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