User Testing Unveiled: A Step-by-Step Exploration

Inclusive design and accessibility have emerged as critical factors shaping user experiences.

User testing with disabled users and ensuring your products are accessible can help reach a broader audience and cater to the needs of diverse users, but what are the strategies for success and what does the step-by-step process of user testing look like?  

In this blog, AbilityNet’s expert Accessibility consultant, Lucy Woodcock, shares her experience of user testing projects, highlighting the key stages and the pivotal role accessibility experts play in creating a seamless user experience. 

AbilityNet expert’s contribution to user testing Lucy Woodcock smiling

As an accessibility consultant at AbilityNet, I’m involved in the usability testing projects from start to finish -  the designing of the testing, running the sessions, and collecting insights and feedback.   

Preparing and planning a user testing project 

User testing begins with meticulous planning.

Setting dates, arranging calls and recruiting participants are the initial steps.

We have a diverse range of user testers who can review our client’s digital content and services on a variety of devices. A crucial call with our client helps align objectives and ensures clarity in expectations.

This groundwork sets the stage for a valuable and inclusive user testing project.  

Preparing a user research plan Graphic of a person writing on a piece of paper

Fail to plan, plan to fail – a mantra that echoes through the halls of successful insightful usability testing.  

The preparation stage involves crafting a research plan, which includes a list of task questions. The research plan is regularly evaluated against the agreed client’s research objectives to make sure that these goals stay at the forefront of our minds.  

It is important to have access to the testing product or prototype when we’re doing this preparation so that we are confident in the journey flows that we’ll be asking our participants to follow. This also means we can liaise with our client to iron out any unexpected issues before the testing sessions. 

What AbilityNet user testing looks like

Remote usability testing works well for most of our projects. 

While AbilityNet’s London office has excellent usability testing lab facilities, the flexibility of remote participation appeals to many potential testers. Remote user testing also provides our clients with the unique opportunity to experience raw feedback from real users firsthand. We provide our clients with logins to observe the sessions, turning the testing day into a collaborative experience. 

Analysing user testing results 

Analysis of the user testing is a crucial part of the user process. Here, the findings come together - the key issues are highlighted and recommendations start to take shape. Grouping identified barriers into key themes and exploring participant suggestions for improvement is akin to producing truly accessible and inclusive websites, apps and web content. 

Exploring the tools available to optimise the efficiency of the analysis stage is an ongoing activity, and different experts and consultants have different preferences, as well as some tools being suited to types of data. From a wall of sticky notes to digital collaboration, the tools may vary, but the goal remains constant – insightful analysis.  

Writing a user testing report Graphic of a clipboard with checkmarks and an image and video play icon

The user testing report is the end deliverable for our clients, and, as such, contains all the salient information from the project.  

A good user testing report includes insights that are evidenced and relevant recommendations, closely linked to our client objectives. It's important for the report to be clear, justified and measurable to increase implementation and improve the product’s accessibility. We also collate the report findings as a slide deck for clients so they can present information to key stakeholders who want an overview of the report. 

Improving websites and apps with user testing results and recommendations

A retrospective of a project allows the team at AbilityNet to reflect on improvements that can be made to future projects.

This final part of the process gives the individuals involved in the user testing project a space to review successes and identify areas for improvement. Our commitment to continuous improvement ensures adaptability to evolving client needs, making each project a stepping stone to future success.

Ready to conduct inclusive user testing?

We make sure that you ask the right people the right questions at the right time and make the best use of their feedback. Find out how to get the most from your user research budget.

Enquire about our user testing service

How can I run user testing myself?

Knowing how to conduct user testing yourself can give you the reassurance that you are making accessibility improvements and focusing your resources in the right areas.

You can learn how to begin your own accessibility testing on our online training course.

This blog is based on Lucy Woodcock’s gathered experience of different AbilityNet projects and does not represent any single project, client, or participant.