Why, When, and How to Run Usability Tests — 5 steps solution

6 min readNov 24, 2022


Do you want to improve the overall usability, metrics, and functionality of your website? It’s easy. Ask your users how they are using your website. Test their interaction and find the limitations and possibilities of your website. This article will discuss the importance of Usability Tests and why you should conduct one right now.

Imagine if…

Imagine a situation. John has a website. It’s an e-commerce website with slippers. The website is functional, pleasant to the eye, and user-friendly, with high-quality blog articles. Campaigns are running. John did everything he could so he can read a book from the comfort of his couch. Mistake. To offer a high-quality web experience, thinking as a consumer is not enough. The question is: Do users think the same as John and his developers?

What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a technique that helps to identify issues with the product by testing those who are using the product. In other words, you test your product/service and how your typical users perceive it.

Developers, designers, or owners have certain beliefs, knowledge, and best practices. However, their experience with previous projects can influence the functionality and usability of the final product. They aren’t infallible. Well, they are people, and people are biased even though they are experts in the field.

*Have a look at our guide about usability testing tools for 2023

Why do you need usability tests?

  • To understand user experience with the product
  • To increase conversions and stop losing customers
  • To have authentic and objective feedback with sufficient data
  • Business benefits: Saving money for developers & designers
  • Without usability testing, the opinion about the product is biased
  • You will get objective data

Moderated or Unmoderated testing?

So far, we have discussed why testing is necessary and how it can improve your product. But there are different approaches to testing. How to test your users? Should you send questionnaires, knock on the doors, or ask in the streets?

There are two main ways how to do usability testing:

  • Moderated: 1 on 1, a researcher is interacting with a user, interviewing him
  • Unmoderated: no interaction, user is completing an online task, online tool is monitoring the reactions and collecting data

Moderated testing requires controlled conditions: one researcher asking questions and one helper writing down the answers and notes. Organizing a controlled environment with researchers and hired testers is expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, the output is in the form of quantitative and qualitative data, plus you can see facial reactions and body movements.

Unmoderated testing requires the use of online usability testing tools such as UXtweak. The advantage of tools for unmoderated testing is easy setup with quick feedback from real users. You don’t have to spend a lot of time hiring and communicating with testers or putting extra effort into the testing process. Everything is online. Read more about Unmoderated testing on our blog.

What is the result of usability testing?

As a result, you can get extensive output from your users. You can also find usability problems with your product, collect data, and improve your users’ overall satisfaction. Sounds promising!

You can collect general feedback on your website with Website testing, test your website’s information architecture and content with the Card Sorting tool, and test menu navigation with the Tree testing tool.

How does it work?

Ok, so you know the value of testing but how to start? Let’s see how to test in 5 steps.

1. What I want to find out — identify the issue

Firstly, you should identify the issue. Is there something on the website that can cause problems? There are a few tips you can use:

  • You don’t have to test your website all at once. Instead, focus on a specific part of it. Use the potential of users, don’t waste it on small and irrelevant tasks.
  • Stay focused on important things. That is your mantra. Improve the landing page or some aspect that is somehow significant. Look at Google Analytics, and analyze traffic, bounce rate, or other available metrics. It’s not a priority to improve some irrelevant landing pages without conversions. Focus on the main page, contacts, or landing pages where conversions are happening.
  • The guide to success is also outputting from session recording. Thanks to this tool you can create heat maps and understand the behavior of your users.

Extra tip: Focus separately on the desktop and mobile versions of your product

2. Work on the tasks

Did you find an issue? Great. Now try to create a scenario that will help to answer your problem. The chosen task should represent basic activity on the website. The task should represent reality as much as possible. Respondents should easily identify with the problem.

Here are the key principles of how to write a task:

  1. Write a task that is measurable
  2. The task should be tracked back to the initial point
  3. Ask for action and not an opinion
  4. Write clear tasks without vague definitions

Examples of bad tasks:

  • How do you find our website?
  • Buy slippers

Example of good tasks:

  • You want to buy slippers and you want to know more information about delivery. Find a way to get information about delivery.

The ultimate guide to task creation is available on our website — learn more

3. Find users for the test

When you want to conduct a moderated usability test, you have to find suitable respondents. They should be regular users who are likely to use your product.

Great respondents

  • Wider portfolio of users
  • Different age groups
  • Different educational background
  • Different socio-economic background
  • Disadvantaged person

Not that great respondents (even though we believe they have great personalities)

  • Colleagues in work: they already know the product and the logic behind it,
  • Family members: testing will ruin your (Christmas) holidays
  • One consistent group of participants: results of the test will reflect the needs of one particular group

In the case you want to use an online tool such as UXtweak, the only thing you have to do is to share your link with the testers. There is no need to install additional software, extension, or other widgets. Respondents simply click on a link and do the study. They also don’t need to upload any data afterward.

Oh, and we also have a pretty cool widget. You can recruit your respondents from our databases and test real users. Professional testers know the principles of testing, and their online behavior is mostly learned. Use the potential of real users.

4. Testing phase

Let the testing begin! Moderated usability testing requires controlled conditions. You need a table, a chair, a computer, or a mobile phone, where testers are performing the task, and one or two researchers who are asking questions and writing down the answers.

When using a tool, you can directly see how testers are using the website. Can they easily get to the contact form? Don’t forget to check the settings of the test as well. Is the number of respondents increasing? Are they leaving the test at a certain point? It can indicate a problem and you should reevaluate the settings.

5. Have fun with data

Now you can play with your quantitative and qualitative data. Do users use the website as they are meant to? How many people find a contact form? Is there a difference between your assumption about the website and real user behavior? Now you can fix the problem based on real research. Discuss the opportunities with your designers and developers.

EXTRA TIP: After fixing the problems, test again!


Testing, testing, and testing. There is no better way to understand your users and how to improve your product.

Try our free program and register here.




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