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To truly understand your customer's user experience (UX) of your site, product, or service, you must implement user testing to determine what works and what doesn’t. — Getty Images/alvarez

The user experience (UX) refers to an individual’s interaction with a company and its products or services. But to truly understand UX, you must implement user testing to determine what works and what doesn’t. If you want to test UX, here are five methods to try:

[Read More: What is UX? How to Improve User Experience]

Moderated user testing

During moderated user testing, an individual will interact with your product or service while someone moderates in real time. The moderator will guide the individual through different tasks and ask questions about problems they encounter.

The biggest advantage of moderated testing is the ability to receive real-time feedback. When you observe someone interacting with your product, you’ll often uncover issues you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. And the testing environment is adaptive, so the moderator can change directions as needed.

However, moderated user testing is not always easy to set up, since it involves coordinating schedules and determining a central location. And the moderator can unknowingly influence the outcome, creating biased results.

Unmoderated user testing

During unmoderated user testing, the participant will go through a series of tasks or answer questions, but this time, there’s no moderator to guide them. Since participants can complete the test remotely, they can do it from their own home if they prefer.

The advantage of unmoderated user testing is that it’s easier to set up and complete. And because the test can be done remotely, you can recruit a much more diverse array of candidates. And for businesses, the operating costs are relatively low.

But without a moderator, there is no way to probe participants to go deeper on problems they encounter. And since the test is unguided, there is always the chance the user can do it incorrectly.

[Read More: Nestle Toll House Rolls Out New Digital Avatar to Enhance the User Experience]

By running three to six focus groups, you can identify 90% of themes within that dataset. So if you’re at the beginning stages of creating a product, focus groups can be a great way to get additional perspectives or learn about new challenges.

Card sorting

Card sorting is a user testing method that helps you determine how your customers find information and navigate different systems. You can use sticky notes, paper or some kind of online card sorting software to get started.

Each card will contain different information, and the participants will categorize the data by groups or categories. You can also give users the option to create and name additional categories as they see fit.

Card sorting can be helpful if you’re creating a new website or app because it can help you determine how your potential customers will use the site. That way, you know you’re designing your website in a way that’ll make sense to your audience.

Tree tests

Tree testing is a method to help you learn how searchable your website is. Can visitors find the information they need?

Sometimes referred to as “reverse card sorting,” a tree test is a text-based version of a website. The participants are shown this version of your website and asked how they would locate specific information.

If your participants struggle to find the information they need, then you know your website needs some additional improvements.

Focus groups

In a focus group, one moderator will have a conversation with six to eight participants. During the focus group, the moderator will ask the group about their habits, preferences and experiences relating to a certain topic.

By running three to six focus groups, you can identify 90% of themes within that dataset. So if you’re at the beginning stages of creating a product, focus groups can be a great way to get additional perspectives or learn about new challenges.

But running focus groups takes time, and they are not as easy to execute as surveys or questionnaires. And since the moderator is running the group discussion, that person can influence the outcome if they aren’t careful.

[Read More: Need Some Feedback? How to Conduct Customer Interviews and Focus Groups]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 14, 2021