User testing helps immensely to improve your design decisions. Its importance cannot be neglected in the design process. The design process that you follow needs to involve user testing at each stage.
It is necessary to build a proper method to incorporate user testing throughout the design process.
In the initial stages when you sketch ideas on paper, whiteboard, or screen, make the user part of your discussion. Get his feedback and shape your design accordingly.
During the middle stages, when you create low-fidelity and high-fidelity images and prototypes, share them with customers to get their suggestions.
At the final stage, when you build the system, then get in touch to see whether the user is able to achieve his goals or not.
If you don’t have enough budget to conduct proper usability tests, you can still plan an informal test. For this purpose, identify tasks, select a few users, and conduct the test. Collect their feedback and use them to make design decisions.
If you do not make users part of your initial design discussions, it means you are following your own instincts. Remember, you can never think like a user.
“Hence there is a chance that you will start moving towards a direction that is taking you far away from what your user is looking for.”
And when you involve users in design work, it would be more difficult to go back to the initial design stages and start again. It will take cost, resources, and time.
“We tend to be distracted by the voices in our own heads telling us what the design should look like.”–Michael Bierut
Involving your user in your design work throughout the process will help you to move very smoothly toward the desired goal. It would be easier to present your ideas and negotiate with him about design decisions. It will help you gain the trust of your users, and thus make them loyal to you.
“I get very uncomfortable when someone makes a design decision without customer contact.”–Dan Ritzenthaler
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