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Product Testing

Product Testing
Elena Mitsiou
•  10.05.2024
Product testing is an essential stage in bringing any new product to market. Before a product is released to consumers, companies will thoroughly test it to identify any flaws or areas for improvement. The goal is to catch issues while the product is still in development. Though testing adds steps in product development, it protects both businesses and consumers in the long run.

No matter how brilliant your product idea might be, product testing is a critical component for the success of your product. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen 95% of the products that are launched every year are doomed to fail.

So if you are looking to find the secret sauce to a successful product, product testing is your answer! From the content inception through to product development and the post-launch phase, product testing is the true hero.

In this article, we have collated everything you need to know about product testing including the most common methodologies as well as tips and tricks to nail your product testing today.

What Is Product Testing?

But first things first, let’s pin down a definition for product testing. Product testing is a critical part of the development of a product which deploys various experiments or assessments to ensure that the product meets certain expectations and standards before it hits the market. 🎯

The main purpose of product testing is to pinpoint areas of improvement and weaknesses in the way that a product is designed or operates to minimize the risks of post-launch errors. Product testing can take various forms depending on the needs of the business, the phase of the product lifecycle, and the nature of the product being tested.

Keep reading to learn more. 🤓

The Importance of Product Testing

We do not exaggerate when we say that product testing is the secret sauce to the success of the product. Product testing is a quintessential part of product development that ensures top product quality at all times leading to increased customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. If you are not convinced yet, keep reading to find out the advantages that rigorous product testing has to offer.

Quality Assurance

Product testing is one of the first checkpoints in the development process as through product testing, designers and developers can pinpoint flaws around the functionality of the product and work to solve those before that product reaches the market.

Hence, product testing with its testing protocols can serve as a great quality assurance tool in a product expert’s arsenal. By conducting rigorous product testing, product owners can maintain high-quality standards and deliver reliable products to their users.

User Satisfaction Guarantee

Rigorous product testing is an excellent way to keep on top of your product and make sure that the final product meets the needs and expectations of its intended audience.

By conducting user testing as part of your product testing framework, product experts have a unique opportunity to gather user feedback and insights during the testing process and refine the final product based on this feedback, ultimately guaranteeing user satisfaction.

Customer Safety Assurance

Safety testing is another important component of product testing. Safety testing has as a main goal to reduce any risks that are linked to the use of the product by trialing a product against different safety assessments.

In this way, product manufacturers can ensure that their product meets the expected regulatory standards. In the digital realm, this might have to do with data protection laws and the way the user’s data is displayed or stored.

Usability & Accessibility Evaluation

Another major component of product testing is assessing the usability and accessibility of the product making sure that it is not only usable but also accessible to individuals with disabilities or functional needs.

By testing rigorously against usability heuristics and accessibility standards, product designers can pinpoint and address any sticky points that may hinder user interaction with the product.

Cost-Saving Practice

At a glance, product testing might seem like an expensive practice that requires the allocation of extra resources and time, however, you would be surprised to know that it is a cost-saving practice in the long run.

By addressing the sticky points of a product before its actual launch to the real customers, the business has a unique opportunity to avoid reputational damage or costly redesigns and save big on the cost of production and other support processes.

Types of Product Testing

Product testing consists of a spectrum of methodologies tailored to address the unique nature of the product and the phase of the development. Here are some key types of product testing to keep in mind:

Concept Testing

Concept testing is a product testing methodology used to get initial reactions and feedback at the early stage of the product idea conception. A unique opportunity to validate your product idea and get feedback early on before you proceed with the costly design and development processes is concept testing.

Usability Testing

Usability testing is another product testing method that assesses how usable and accessible an interface is for its intended users. More specifically, by conducting usability testing product designers have an unmissable opportunity to pinpoint sticky points usability issues, and navigation hurdles, and address them before the product hits the market.

Learn the basics with our usability testing step-by-step video guide 👇

A/B Testing

A/B testing is another great methodology used to test products. This methodology involves the comparison of two or more versions of the same page or feature to determine which performs better against set key metrics such as conversion rates or goal completions. A/B testing is conducted with real users and businesses can use the results to make data-driven decisions about the optimization of the product.

Card Sorting & Tree Testing

Card sorting and tree testing are all about observing how users intuitively organize content into categories. Based on those observations, designers can make informed decisions about the navigation and the information architecture of the products that they are building, ensuring that those decisions do not go against the user preferences or mental models.

Try out sorting and tree testing tools in UXtweak’s free demos:

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Tree Testing
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Regression Testing

Regression testing is a product software testing technique that looks at recent code updates ensuring that those have not affected the functionality of the digital interface or product. Retesting is an excellent way to ensure that your digital product is trustworthy and that it meets quality standards at all times.

Heatmaps and Eye-tracking

Heatmaps and eye-tracking are two great methods to further drill down into the nuances of user behavior and understand how your product aligns with those.

On the one hand, heatmaps offer a visual representation of how users interact with an interface by monitoring their scrolling and clicking activities.

On the other hand, eye-tracking is about monitoring users’ eye movements to get an understanding of which elements draw users’ attention. These tests offer invaluable insights into the visual hierarchy as well as the optimization of content placement.

An example of  Heatmap analysis in the Session Recording Tool using UXtweak.

When to Do Product Testing?

Here are the key phrases of the product development where product testing should be conducted as well as the types of testing that align with those phases:

The Concept Phase

The concept phase of product development is a great phase to start testing your product idea and gauge reactions! Concept testing is the key methodology here well suited for the start of the product life cycle. User researchers, product managers, and the leadership team should be all involved in the product testing at this stage.

The Design & Development Phase

The core of product testing should be done during the design and before the development phase of the product lifecycle. Usability testing and card sorting testing are the most common methodologies here. In this phase, the testing is conducted mainly by UX designers usability experts, and information architects.

The Pre-launch Phase

Another key phase where the product should be thoroughly tested is the pre-launch phase, just before the product hits the market. Here, regression testing and A/B testing are two well-suited methods that can help UX designers, QA engineers, and Developers catch and address any last-minute errors in product performance.

The Post-Launch Phase

Finally, the optimization of a product is an iterative process so the testing should continue in the post-launch phase. Heatmaps, usability testing, and eye-tracking methods are all great ways to continue testing the product and iteratively fine-tune it to ensure it meets the ever-changing user demands.

How to Do Product Testing?

Here is a step-by-step guide to planning your first product testing:

  • Define the Testing Objectives: Define the testing objectives by pinpointing the aspects of the product that you want to evaluate.
  • Choose the Product Testing Methods: Once the objectives are set, it’s time to select the appropriate testing method. To do so consider the unique nature of the product, the unique needs of your product testing, and the phase of the product lifecycle that you are in.
  • Recruit Participants: Once you have decided on your test method you need to start thinking about recruiting participants for your study. Ensure that those are representative of your targeted audience and choose the right channels to source them.
  • Plan your Testing: Craft a plan for your product testing and ensure you have your test scenarios and other resources, like prototypes, that you might need depending on the type of methodology that you are using, ready to go!
  • Conduct Product Testing: Now it is time to execute the product testing based on your plans and test scenarios.
  • Analyze and Share Results: Finally, collect and analyze the results of your product testing by identifying patterns and themes. Don’t forget to share the most important research nuggets with the whole product team to maximize the benefits of product testing.

Unlock the Power of Product Testing with UXtweak!

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Tips for More Effective Product Testing

Here are our top tips for effective product testing:

👍 Utilize Cross-Functional Shadowing:

Encourage different team members from cross-functional teams to shadow your testing. This will allow them not only to gain great insights into the user perspective but also to understand firsthand the benefits of product testing, leading to greater adoption of those insights.

👍 Leverage Storytelling for Usability Testing

Make sure to leverage storytelling in your usability testing sessions to encourage participants to open up and share their lived experiences. Tapping into storytelling can result in better and more in-depth qualitative insights.

👍 Use Micro-Expressions Analysis

If you think that you can get insights only from verbal cues think again! Don’t forget to use micro-expression analysis techniques to get a better understanding of the unconscious user reactions and uncover hidden sticky points in your interface.

👍 Encourage Real-World Scenarios

When it comes to creating your testing scenarios try not to get carried away by extreme edge cases. Instead, design your scenario based on read-word situations that will allow you to get more meaningful and actionable insights.

👍 Implement Iterative Testing

Testing should not be perceived as a one-off project. Product testing and product optimization are iterative processes so make sure to incorporate testing in all the phases of your product lifecycle for optimal results.

👍 Prioritize Accessibility Testing

This is one to treasure! Accessibility testing ensures that the product is accessible and usable to people with diverse needs so do not forget to test for compliance with the main accessibility standards.

👍 Collect Both Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Adopt a holistic approach to product testing and make sure to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. While quantitative data will allow you to uncover patterns, qualitative data can help you pinpoint the reason behind a certain behavior or tendency.

To sum up

Rigorous product testing is the alpha and the omega for the creation of a successful product. There is an array of product testing methodologies out there that you can utilize depending on the unique nature of your product but also the phase of the product lifecycle that you are in.

Common methodologies include but are not limited to usability studies, regression testing, A/B testing as well as the use of heatmaps and eye-tracking software. No matter which methodology you decide to use, don’t forget to always use real-case testing scenarios and gather a combination of quantitative and qualitative data for more actionable and meaningful study results.

Why not give it a try to UXtweak? Register for your free account today and test your product from the early stages with our powerful tools! 🐝

FAQ: Product Testing

What is meant by product testing?

Product testing is about testing a product against various established heuristics or metrics to ensure that it meets the predetermined functionality and standards of quality. The main goal of product testing is to pinpoint sticky points or areas of improvement that can be addressed before the product hits the market.

How can we test products?

There is an array of methodologies to test products out there. Some of the most common methods are concept testing, usability testing, regression testing, and heatmaps!

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