Quick & easy methods for usability testing micro-interactions?

25 Feb 2010 - 5:26pm
4 years ago
2 replies
1351 reads
Josh Evnin
2005

Hey everybody,

I'm looking for suggestions for ways I can usability test some
micro-interactions on the site I'm working on. We've worked out a
bunch of the big questions - the flow and IA seem to be working, the
visual design is adding to the content, and users are enjoying
themselves on the site - but a handful of issues regularly pop up
that I would like to be able to test out with some users. I'm
talking about really little stuff like whether an item with a
variable price should be displayed as:

"Starting at $5.00" or "$5.00+" or just plain old "$5.00"

How do you test the little things as they come up? Do you save them
all up until you've got enough to warrant full testing sessions with
users, or do you use other methods to knock out these little
questions?

Thanks!

Josh

Comments

25 Feb 2010 - 5:35pm
Hilary Bienstock
2009

Josh,

At Yahoo!, they treated these types of issues by running a Rolling Study every month -- a usability study where anyone could throw in a topic. Money for this study came out of a central budget rather than from any team's individual budget. There were usually 4-6 topics per test. The upside was that very small questions got tested even if they wouldn't warrant a whole test, or if the team didn't have budget for testing. The downside was that a) recruits couldn't be specific to the users of each project, b) coordination of studies was a very big job, and c) it was frustrating for the person running these studies not to be able to follow the issues through. I'm not sure I'd recommend this.

If small issues come up occasionally, it might be appropriate to tack them on to the end of a test of another topic -- if it only takes a minute or two, that shouldn't be a problem.

However, for the question you mentioned below (terminology around pricing, what's your goal? If it's to assess whether users understand the various terms, then lab testing is appropriate; however if, as I suspect, the goal is to find out which term converts best, then a bucket test is the most appropriate way to find this out.

One of my clients is currently investigating remote usability services like http://www.usertesting.com/. This could be another solution to small questions, but we haven't tried it yet, so I can't speak to that from experience.

In sum, as with anything, it depends on the question you're trying to answer -- but I have found that keeping a running log of small issues and trying to sneak them in to the ends of other usability tests can often work well and be the most time-effective way to investigate these issues. I'd certainly be interested to hear other approaches, though.

Hilary

Hilary User Experience
Hilary Bienstock, Principal

hilary at hilaryue.com :: 310.883.5818 :: fax 310.829.2839

________________________________
From: Josh Evnin <jevnin at gmail.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Sent: Thu, February 25, 2010 6:26:46 AM
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Quick & easy methods for usability testing micro-interactions?

Hey everybody,

I'm looking for suggestions for ways I can usability test some
micro-interactions on the site I'm working on. We've worked out a
bunch of the big questions - the flow and IA seem to be working, the
visual design is adding to the content, and users are enjoying
themselves on the site - but a handful of issues regularly pop up
that I would like to be able to test out with some users. I'm
talking about really little stuff like whether an item with a
variable price should be displayed as:

"Starting at $5.00" or "$5.00+" or just plain old "$5.00"

How do you test the little things as they come up? Do you save them
all up until you've got enough to warrant full testing sessions with
users, or do you use other methods to knock out these little
questions?

Thanks!

Josh
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25 Feb 2010 - 8:33pm
Laura Klein
2009

I just want to second Hilary's mention of the use of bucket testing
(aka. multivariate or a/b testing) for these sorts of small things.
You can quickly get significant results, and once you start a/b
testing things, you'll find all sorts of little tweaks you can make
to dramatically increase important metrics like conversion, revenue,
and retention. This is an especially good way of testing things that
users might not even notice in a regular usability test but that can
have a really big impact on your business.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=49669

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