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Folks
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Good testing, bad testing.
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I’d like to hear your thoughts on what constitutes successful testing of designs. Such as why to test, what to test for, when testing hurt your design, and when it helped.

(Will add a comment with notes to keep the prompt focused and neutral).

Dom Porada
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I have lots of issues with institutionalized UX testing gone wrong that I’ve seen over the years. Top issues I saw again and again:

— company incentives for UX researches often lean on the side of finding fault in designs. If the boss pays for this, there’d better be some results come out of it.

— testing (especially A/B) often prioritizes engagement at the cost of loss of vision, inconstant tone of voice, and more.

— A/B tests can dumb things down to the lowest common denominator which especially hurts when your app is trying to teach and broaden horizons.

Testing I did find useful was often situational and looking at the bigger picture:

— A day in the live of the costumer revealed invaluable feedback. Such as: How much time do I have for this? What apps do I use outside of your app? Should I slow down and get things right? Or blow a hole in the wall and get something rough done?

— Competitive customer experience rather than own comp. research: Where do the others fall flat? What can we do to leapfrog, or at least catch them?

— What-ifs and blue sky prototypes to gauge if a tent pole feature is more important than a productivity enhancement.

Maybe I just worked with too immature, tactical, or too large organizations but more often than help, I found the team to be in a position of having to work against engagement-focused testing that tended to compromise the product design vision.

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