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Question: User Testing Vs User Requirements

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#1 kanarb


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Posted 29 October 2007 - 07:13 PM

I'm writing a Request for Proposal for User Testing and I want to make sure I'm using the correct terminology. It seems there are two different animals that are called user testing. The first is where you are talking to users to discover their needs, creating personas and scenarios etc. After you gather that info, then you can create prototypes and wireframes and perform actual user testing on them.

Am I right that the first step, though it uses some of the same tools, is not, strictly speaking, "user testing", because you don't have anything to test yet? I'm guessing a better term would be User Requirements Analysis. Does this sound right, or is there other terminology to distinguish the two? Thanks.

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#2 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 09:24 PM

The exact terminology will depends uponyour background field :)

In general, you need to discover the Needs, the Wants and the Extras.
Those are in relation to the Content, Page Layout and Site Structure.
So thats a minimum of what, 9 variant sets of design/test/implementation.

The hard part will be convincing the Client that they may have missed the mark with what they think their clientel wants/needs etc. (never a nice topic).

You may find a chicken/egg scenario - do you make some mocks, then ask people to look/use them and give feedback... or do you go theoretical and ask first, desin mocks after?
Which ever one you do, do the other second... and wash, rinse, repeat several times to catch all the missing bits. It can be time consuming, but it sure beats missing the mark and nafing of potential clientel for your client.

#3 AbleReach


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Posted 30 October 2007 - 03:32 PM

You may find a chicken/egg scenario - do you make some mocks, then ask people to look/use them and give feedback... or do you go theoretical and ask first, desin mocks after?

Or both?

Have you done a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for the site?

#4 Adrian


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Posted 30 October 2007 - 06:12 PM

I've seen similar confusion in my own work place recently :(
user testing was mentioned relating to a site build, which to me meant actually getting people to use the site and see how they got on. But anther manager took it to be the requirements gathering process, in terms of knowing beforehand what kind of things the target audience would want to see/do on the site.

Left me a bit confused as well :)

#5 MiamiRon


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Posted 07 November 2007 - 05:11 PM

User testing is a very general term. Some of the terminology that might be more useful:
- Discovery: The phase (usually the first) where requirements are gathered and documented.
- Requirements Phase: same as above.
- Usability testing: this is the act of actually presenting real-life people with a prototype (paper or online) or completed system/site and having them run through scenarios for the purpose of uncovering qualitative and/or quantitative information.

Testing implies that you have something to test- and that test can be "how fast can someone do x-y-z" or "how satisfied are people when they do x-y-z" and that the results can be measured (qualitative info can be captured via surveys, etc.).

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