Usability Testing Questions: 5 Key Writing Tips With Examples

Learn how to write excellent usability testing questions with these 5 examples.

If you’re creating a product, designing or revamping a website, or restructuring how you organize information within your company, getting customer feedback along the way is essential. No matter how intimately acquainted with the information, product, or website you may be, your perception and evaluation of it are fundamentally limited to your own way of thinking. By asking usability testing questions, you have the opportunity to gain insight from others and devise a more well-thought-out final product.

Unless you have the opportunity to blindly observe how employees or customers navigate and interact with your product, the next best way to elevate your user experience is to survey users with carefully crafted questions that elicit insightful responses. If you’ve never conducted usability testing, however, you may not know where to begin. Let’s cover everything you need to know in order to craft the best possible questions.

What are user testing questions?

If you’re new to user testing, it’s important to start at square one: what is user testing? User testing is a form of research that helps individuals charged with the task of designing, organizing, or formatting information to gain insight into how users move through and engage with the product, website, or organizational structure they’ve created. You may need to ask usability testing questions for one of the following reasons:

  • To test a hypothesis: For example, “If we build X product, users will be more inclined to engage Y service.” By creating a prototype of this product, you can test your users to see if they confirm your theory.
  • Detect issues in a product you’ve already developed: Once you’ve got a prototype designed, you may choose to conduct user testing to see if any issues or gray areas you hadn’t detected arise.
  • Learn more about how users interact with your product: User testing can provide enlightening information about how users navigate or engage with your work—this insight may highlight ways you could take your product further or areas you may want to consider reorganizing or restructuring in order to better suit your users’ needs.
  • Glean insight from how users engage with competitor products: If a competitor in your industry has already created something similar to what you’re working on, running user testing on it could help you identify where your products are similar or different. This could allow you to glean valuable information on user needs in your field.

While many of us like to imagine that if we get content organized and formatted in a way that makes perfect sense in our own minds, everyone else will also come to our finished product innately knowing how to navigate it. Unfortunately, that’s rarely how it plays out in practice. Everyone’s minds are different, so in order to create a product that best suits as many people as possible, it’s important to conduct user testing to compare your best ideal design against others. To do that, you can generate user testing questions and conduct studies around how users understand and navigate your content.

But you don’t do this by just generating a series of questions and presenting them to a group of users. Here are five tips for writing usability testing questions that get you the responses you need:

  • Determine what your objective is, and what exactly you want to learn: Knowing what exactly your objective is will help keep you on target, and make it easier for you to structure your testing and generate your user testing questions.
  • Identify your target audience: Who is the ideal audience for your product? Put clear criteria to this user—what demographics, experience level, and credentials are essential for them to have in order for them to give you the information you need about your product?
  • Write your screening questions: These are intended to weed out those who fall outside of your target audience, and are presented before your user testing actually begins. These could include information like their age, level of education, or profession. Anything that helps you identify your ideal user is fair game.
  • Write your user testing questions: What do you want to know from your ideal user and how can you compose your questions to get straight to the heart of that information? We’ll go more into detail about doing this in the next section.
  • Post-test questions: Create an opportunity for users to share feedback you haven’t already solicited—this can be incredibly helpful to creating your best final product. Ask things like, “How was your experience using this product? What is one thing you’d add or change, and why? Would you seek out this product in the future? Why or why not?”

While the specific questions you ask must be customized to suit your product and objective, these tips should help you understand the gist of what each phase of this process should be striving for.

How to write the best user test questions

When writing your usability testing questions, you want them to be clear and specific to your product so that your users aren’t confused when formulating their responses. It’s also important to provide thought-provoking questions that gently steer the conversation rather than lead it in any particular direction. Here are five of the best user testing examples to help get the ball rolling when drafting your in-test questions:

  1. What is the first thing you notice on this screen, and what is the first thing you do?
  2. How would you use X tool?
  3. Where would you go to find X information or Y feature?
  4. Which feature would you use most and which would you use least?
  5. What is one problem with this product and how would you fix it?

While it’s important to tailor your questions to the specific product and your unique objective, these questions can provide useful insight into many different areas. They tell you whether the information organization is intuitive or confusing, if you’ve used the hierarchy of design well, and if you’ve given users enough information to successfully complete the desired tasks.

Consider how you could employ these or similar usability testing questions in order to glean the most impactful user insight. Once you’re ready to get started, sign up for a trial with Voiceform or book a demo.

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