Illustration by Tom Cunningham
Big Ideas

How to Automate Your Workflow to Get the Most Out of User Testing

We’re excited to share this guest post by Gabrielle Guthrie, co-founder and product designer at Moxxly, where she leads a team making products for women, starting with the breast pump. Follow her work at Moxxly.com.

 

After years of practicing user-centered product development, I redesigned the way Moxxly approaches user testing with prototypes. In a recent post, I outlined the seven principles that came out of this redesign.

Today, I want to dive deeper into one of the seven principles: Templatize a Workflow.

User testing can be a big, multi-step undertaking, so you’ll want to automate as much as possible to save your time and brain power for the analysis. With a templatized workflow, you’ll free up your time to build more prototypes and talk to more users.

Look at your process from beginning to end with an eye towards automation. Everything from email communications and presentations to data collection and quantitative analysis can be templatized or automated to save you time and effort.

Here’s a list of things we have templates for that we use for every round of testing:

1. Hypothesis and plan: the why and how

  • Summarize findings and process learnings from previous tests
  • What are you testing and why?
  • What are your assumptions?
  • What does success look like?
  • Next steps if (not) successful

2. Email communications: make it easy for testers to say “yes”

We email 300 women to line up 30 tests. Have a template for recruiting and follow up communication that will reduce your back and forth and make it easy for your testers to say, “Yes!” to the test.

user testing template

Recruiting email template

3. User field guide: a checklist and agenda goes a long way

  • A checklist of testing props you can double check before heading out. Here’s what our checklist looks like:
    • Printed consent forms and pen
    • 2 prototypes
    • Laptop and charger
    • Mobile hotspot
    • Stopwatch app (I like MultiTimer)
    • Camera
    • Backup equipment
    • Clean up gear
    • Troubleshooting items
    • Her thank you gift
  • In-session agenda with time estimates for each section to keep you on track
  • Overview of the session’s protocol, including how to talk about the prototype and the company, how to help her feel at ease, what she should expect during the session, and where and how to collect feedback / data
  • Troubleshooting tips – what to do when – not if – things go awry
  • To dos for before and after each session, such as swapping phone numbers for last-minute changes or how to prep the prototypes for the next session

4. Data collection and analysis: push towards real-time analysis

When we’re testing the functionality of a prototype, we use Google Sheets to collect qualitative and quantitative data. By quantifying as much qualitative feedback as we can and setting up the data analysis formulas ahead of time, we – and the team – are able to see how the prototype is functioning and being received across users in real time. Not only has this saved us a ton of time in the backend, but it allows us to intervene early into week-long tests if something’s not working.

5. Presentations: Share your findings

Having a template for the presentation you give to your team after every round of testing makes it easy to share findings and you’ll soon amass a record of your design process with every new deck. Include a reminder of why you were testing in the first place, your assumptions, the protocol, where this lands within the larger product timeline, your findings, process improvements you’ve implemented (or will next time), and implications for the product / brand / company.

Your Turn

Moxxly’s Seven Principles of User Testing is a result of adapting the d.school process, swapping notes with other startup designers, and years of practice and iteration with real women. It’s a living document, undergoing continuous process improvements. If you’ve brought this process back to your team and have feedback for me, I’d love to hear it.

Want to test our products? Sign up at Moxxly.com!