If you're new to WhatUsersDo and the world of designing UX tests, then this is for you. 

In this short video we go through the basics of how and what to research, the different types of questions available and how to make the best of them.

Want to move past the basics? Check out 8 Tips for Writing Incredible UX Testing Tasks!

Psssst...don't have time to watch the video? No problem, here's the transcript instead:

How to write a test (for beginners!)


Hello and welcome to how to write a test (for beginners)


I’m Clare, Customer Marketing Manager here at WhatUsersDo

SLIDE 3 - Where to start

If you’re not sure where to start testing the best thing to do is look at your customers’ most frequent journeys and test based on those.

Imagine if you worked for the Tube (we’re London based company so this is our favourite analogy) and you wanted to learn more about how people found using it. You wouldn’t start by looking at a really obscure route, would you? 

You’d want to know how travellers make their way on a very busy journey, like Waterloo to Oxford Circus. Because you know that’s a very popular route and to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible would be of benefit to the greatest number of people.

SLIDE 4 - We love research

If you’re not sure what you want to find out it’s much better to research it and give yourself a goal, rather than just set users to exploring your site. You may stumble onto a couple of gems this way but it’s much less likely than if you have a clear goal in mind. 

This can be something simple like - why are people leaving the site without buying our products on this page. 

SLIDE 5 - What to think about when writing a test

When writing your test think about this:

Don’t be too broad or too detailed in your questions. Remember you’re dealing with human beings and you will lose their attention if they have to read War and Peace before you get to the point of what you want them to do. Conversely if the question is too broad you may well end up with them going in a different direction altogether and then you’re back to luck of the draw.
You can also think about tone of voice. You may have a very corporate tone in your business but this won’t necessarily be what your users are used to. Make them feel encouraged by using a friendly style.

SLIDE 6 - Question Types

When you start writing your test you’ll see several different question types to use so we’ll go through those. They are:

  • Set a scenario
  • Link to website 
  • Task
  • Verbal Response

You’ll notice other options on the platform but don’t worry about these for now. Let’s go through the main question types one by one.  

SLIDE 7 - Set a Scenario

 This is where you can set the scene for your user. I’m going to move into the world of e-commerce a bit more so the scenario would be: “imagine you’re interested in buying a new sofa” You’re creating the parameters in which the user can move about. So in this case we’re going to create the world for them to think about this - imagine you want to buy a sofa for you home. You can add in - think about whether it would fit, the style and anything else you’d consider when buying a sofa. 

SLIDE 8 - Link to Website 

THIS IS CRITICAL - it seems obvious but this is where you put in the link that the user needs to go to do the tasks you’ve set out. You wouldn’t believe how many people we’ve seen not put in a link or put it in incorrectly. So remember - you’ll ALWAYS need a link and you should always double check it works and goes to the place you want it to go. 

SLIDE 9 - Task and verbal response

I’m going to talk about these two together to start. Now, if you are approaching test writing as a beginner then it’s worth keeping things simple. This may seem counterintuitive but tasks are actually probably of more worth to you than verbal responses. There’s a very natural desire to ask people what they think with a verbal response but then you’re back in the world of opinion, rather than behaviour. 

Behaviour which we see in the task is often of more worth than asking people for their opinion in a verbal response. You’ll learn a lot more from seeing how people behave and they’ll probably give their opinion as they’re going through anyway.Essentially, it’s fine to have a test that doesn’t have any verbal responses in but it would be a real worry if you didn’t have tasks for your users to do. 

If you have a specific journey in mind it can be tempting to leave the search idea open by saying, for example,  “find a sofa”. However, this is too vague because you’re not really allowing the user to engage. They’ll most likely just click on the first sofa they see, which isn’t what you want. Instead, be more specific in what you want them to do in the task. In this case:

 “Find a black sofa in the £900 category”

Then you’ve given them a specific area to look but allowed them the ability to make the final choice. Best of both worlds.

SLIDE 10 - Verbal response

And finally the verbal response option. This is where you can expand on what you would have learnt in the task. So you’ve seen how they behave on your site now you can find out a bit more about what they’d do next. 

It helps you to understand more about the why and means you can get some extra input. The question would be:

“Now what would stop you from buying this sofa?”

 This way you’re allowing them to talk about any additional issues they might have and you might find out something quite unexpected. 

SLIDE 11 - Final step

The final step before putting it live - get more eyes on it. You may think that this is the smoothest, clearest test script ever written but remember everyone understands things slightly differently. So if you can get maybe a colleague, to go through the test and see if there’s anything confusing you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour. You could even get more than one person to go through it so you can be more certain it makes sense. This should help to avoid getting back videos where it’s gone off in the wrong direction. And that’s it, good luck!

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