It is clear that not all software developers test their products on real-world customers before launch. From our point of view, this is a serious oversight, because testing usability can save you precious time and money.
We have learned that software developers are not very keen on testing user experience, running tests rarely if any. The norm is to test for bugs, but not for user experience. Why are they avoiding user usability tests and why should they change their behaviour?
Why are some software developers avoiding user testing?
One might think or even say that developers are in the wrong here. They are clearly not investing time and resources to alleviate any mistakes that might appear in the future and make the development much more costly.
It is wrong to assume that developers are not testing on purpose or they just don’t care. The reason lies behind processes and habits.
Let’s compare two software development environments: a big software department and a start-up.
Bigger companies usually are not interested in regular testing, because it is inconvenient to point a developer to plan and manage the testing processes. Departments with a lot of developers also don’t have a qualified tester that has experience in running user usability or experience tests.
In addition, software developers are not given the task of executing user experience tests on their prototype. It is a foreign world for the developer to begin with.
Most startups like to test practically everything they have created and gather insight constantly. This is so any future hiccups are minimalized and the scarce time they have can be invested into something else.
Yes, developers test – but for bugs and errors in code. User experience is over-looked, mainly because it’s not a part of their job description. And on top of that, people avoid new and inconvenient tasks that seem unnecessary.
If developers are required to run some kind of tests in the first place, development processes would be different: less time and money consuming and healthier for the company.
Decisions like these do fall on the executives that oversee project developments and decide what happens when. If they are also not familiar with user experience tests, it is very likely that nothing will happen.
Why is user testing and research important?
Testing user usability before launch and even during early developments is very beneficial to the developer.
When a mistake or error appears, it might be invisible at first. How do you exactly know how a fresh customer navigates your product or service?
This mistake can later become very tedious, sink much of the already spent testers’ time and companies‘ resources just to start over or fix the error.
It has been estimated by IEEE that about half of the project development time is spent on reworking the project. All of these reworks can also be avoidable. From a monetary standpoint, it is also 100 times more costly to fix a User Experience error after development rather than before it.
Companies can make great improvements in their processes and save time as well as money by just implementing a testing habit in their environment.
McKinsey Report concluded that 380 million dollars were lost in 2018 solely for bad user experience. Customers visited a page, maybe scrolled a bit and then “bounced away” to a competitors webpage.
Some companies have taken great steps to better their user experience and are now reaping the results. For years, LHV has been attracting new customers to the usability it offers to everyday customers and users. They have become a very attractive option for people that don’t have the time or nerve to browse online banking services and like to get straight to the task at hand.
When should software developers start user testing?
Now. Right at this moment. The sooner the better.
Software developers should start thinking about testing as promptly as the first input for the project has been collected.
What do users think of this product or how do they view it? What is the state of the market? And so on.
After this insight has been gathered, developers can then start developing early-stage prototypes and make additions to already existing prototypes. Then it is important to test again.
Everything can be done in small-scale and there’s no need for companies to invest a large number of resources on testing at every stage of the development.
For example, Sharewell has seen companies run short tests with under 50 euros, just to gather some ideas for likely directions or test out brand-new developments.
Ever since we launched our platform and companies started creating tests, we have observed how we should better the user experience of our site as well. Not only have we gathered information on what improvements or test options businesses need, but also how to make the test creating process faster and more comfortable.
This is why we take pride in saying that you can create a test in a matter of minutes.
It is true, you can. Feel free to try it out here.
To sum up, small details get over-looked and this can be costly for the company. Even worse, small mistakes can also cumulate and the livelihood of the whole project can be in danger. Not only bugs, that developers only test for, but mainly tiny mishaps in user usability and experience.
Don’t make it harder on your customers and yourself, test your projects during development.