How many users does usability testing need?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions! The simple answer is… it depends. But, more specifically, for qualitative research, we recommend small studies with goal-directed users who represent a particular part of your user base, so that results from a small sample can be realistically compared. Our typical studies have five users in a day in one-hour sessions, with a findings meeting at the end of the day.

If you have budget for 15 to 20 users, we recommend testing with several smaller groups of users and creating scenarios that work for each user subgroup. For example, with 15 users, you could get results from three different user groups. Or, you could conduct three separate studies at different stages in the development cycle for your product.

However, if you we are conducting human factors validation testing for medical devices, FDA requires 15 participants per user group.

How do we recruit users for studies?

Unlike some companies that use market research firms to recruit users from their active database of prior participants. Our user recruiting process is highly effective in contacting and contracting your specific, targeted users who share your users’ qualities, motivation, and goals.

When it’s appropriate to recruit your users from your own customer or employee databases, we work with you to screen, schedule, and support your users in arranging for their involvement in testing.

We also typically arrange for and pay the incentive or stipend that each user receives for participation.

How do we plan a test?

Because we use a team approach to user testing, planning is the essential starting place. In a 2-hour planning meeting, with a focused agenda. Our team meets with your team to establish the essential elements for the usability test. These elements include setting goals, determining tasks (which become scenarios), determining questions to ask during testing and feedback mechanisms to use after testing, and creating the all-important user profile for recruiting the users from the specific subset(s) of the user population. We can conduct this planning meeting face to face or via web-based conferencing. Minutes of the meeting become the test protocol for the study.

Describe testing methodologies. What happens in a usability test?

A typical test session is an hour. The timeline for the hour is often like this.

  • 10 minutes—greet participant, provide orientation to the study, including coaching on “think aloud process” to learn user’s thoughts during activities with the interface
  • 40 minutes—participant works through scenarios of use, based on the plan for the study
  • 10 minutes—post-test feedback mechanisms (questionnaires, qualitative feedback instruments, interview)

Does the product need to be nearly complete to conduct testing?

Testing can take place in any stage of product development, but the earlier the better. Paper prototypes, clickable prototypes, and wireframes are just some of the products that work well for early reaction and interaction with your users.

If you wait until the product is at Alpha or Beta, you will likely find that it is too expensive and too time consuming to address the issues users uncover. When you test earlier, you can build user experience into product design. And when you test often, you can continue to refine and confirm the improvements in design, based on the results of prior testing.

Who we are

UX Firm, based in Atlanta, GA, is a usability research company engaged in formative and summative usability testing, human factors validation testing for medical devices, and many other types of UX research with clients worldwide.

The two founding partners combine decades of business and academic backgrounds to provide practical, research-based solutions for every project.

Our value proposition is based on the fact that we are personally engaged in every aspect of planning and implementing all phases of user research and reporting.

Learn more about us

What we do

Our strategy is to get involved with you, your product, and your users. We listen to what you need and work with you to employ the right research strategy to meet your goals.

We believe in the value of small usability testing studies when the right methods are applied to get actionable results.

Our UX research toolkit includes  site visits, card sorting for information architecture, in-person and remote usability testing, human factors validation testing for medical devices, heuristic evaluation/expert reviews, longitudinal diary studies, customer journey mapping workshops, persona development, surveys, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and more.

Learn more about our services

How we do it

Our usability work with companies large and small—from Fortune 500 to startup—provides us with the ability to recommend the method that scales to your project and timeline.

We learn what matters most to you and what you most want to know about your users.  With this vital information, we work out the best plan in collaboration with you and in keeping with your budget.

Our services include participant recruiting, expert moderating of usability testing sessions, data collection and analysis of findings from your studies, report writing, presentations, training, and more.

Contact us to start the conversation