User testing before a big product or feature launch is a smart way to make sure your custom digital product works well for its users. But don’t make the mistake of taking a “one and done” approach to user testing.
A continuous user testing strategy involves running tests more frequently or folding the process into your development team’s everyday workflow. Here’s why continuous user testing should be part of your product’s long-term strategy:
Continuous user testing allows designers and developers to make corrections earlier. The cost of fixing an error after development is 100x that of fixing it before the project is complete — so by ensuring your product’s functionality before building upon it, expenditures drop.
When continuous user testing is part of the development workflow, designers and engineers are engaged in the process and can react quickly to observations, saving time that might have been spent creating an inelegant UI or building an unnecessary feature. Many digital products evolve significantly between the prototype stage and the product’s release. Integrating testing into your team’s routine sprints helps them stay nimble and user-focused as the project unfolds.
Helps You Keep Up With Change
Never assume that the user testing done during development is sufficient for the entire product’s lifecycle. Even if your product’s main function isn’t changing over time, the devices and platforms that people use will: operating systems get updates, web browsers get makeovers, and new devices like tablets and smart TVs emerge. Periodic spot checks will help you notice and fix UX issues as they arise.
Keeps You Competitive
The broader market context changes over time, changing your user’s expectations. For example, TikTok has introduced a new form of social media interaction that is now second nature for many people, leading other platforms like Instagram to incorporate similar features. Continuous user testing helps you keep up with the way people use your competitors’ products so you can ensure the functionality of your product is contemporary to the user’s needs — the key to maintaining relevance.
Provides Measurable Data
Feedback from user testing is a valuable asset for influencing decision-makers at your own company and with prospective clients. Before signing a high-dollar contract, clients will want to know that adopting your software won’t require time-consuming training and expensive set-up costs. User testing can give your sales team the data they need to demonstrate that your product is intuitive to use and quick to get up and running.
How to Approach Continuous User Testing
Your approach to user testing will look different based on your product. If you are maintaining a mature product, you may schedule small-scale user check-ins on a quarterly or yearly basis. With a greenfield project, you might instead build in mixed-methods user research sprints throughout your development timeline to guide feature development in real time. If you’re interested in incorporating continuous user testing into your product roadmap, send us a message and we’ll chat about what approach makes the most sense for your goals.
With today’s rapidly changing technology, it’s essential that your custom digital product meets your user’s evolving needs and expectations. When continuous user testing becomes part of your product’s long-term strategy rather than an afterthought, it can set your business up for success.