It’s not you, it’s me
Before starting any sort of testing it’s important to understand who’s responsible for problems in the usability. The presentation points out that the most profitable model assigns the designer as the person who is responsible for the system. Intuitively this would make sense. The designer is the individual who creates the system for the user to navigate. When customers have a difficult time navigating through the process, the designer must insure the users can easily access what they need. The other view emphasizes the user as the problem. The error of this way of thinking is that it assumes the system is designed perfectly. No system is ever perfect, regardless of how many times it has been reworked. Putting blame on users also forces the designers in a defensive stance. Designers defending themselves will ignore all criticism including good points of improvement since they might assume that all customers who cannot use the system must be incompetent to a certain degree. Having designers take the blame puts them in a position where they must look at their design objectively. Objective style thinking allows for better improvement due to biases being removed in evaluating the system. Designers who are thinking openly will create more effective systems which will be more profitable in the long-run. As a result, having the designer take the blame is a more profitable model.
Before you test on visitors or customers, you need to first test the system on yourself. Testing the system puts you in the user’s perspective. For many business owners this is an eye-opening experience. Most of us never put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. Often times we make decisions from the top down and overlook choices the affect the entire user experience. Putting ourselves through this test makes us aware of all issues users go through. As suggested by the presentation, you should record yourself while doing the test. Recording the experience will provide a good learning tool moving forward. Not only can you monitor the test, but you can refer back to observations made in the test. Knowing the issues before you start testing on your visitors and customers will help you understand the concerns that are brought up. Competitors do not do these types of tests. Doing these tests will give you a tremendous advantage since you will know your customers better than your competition does. This will create a competitive advantage for your business/organization. As a result, doing this type of test will give you more benefits than any other test will.
Knowing your customers and yourself
Once you have started testing on other variables like visitors and customers, you need to apply those recommendations. When you start receiving feedback from your tests there will be many criticisms from users. A lot of negativity can cause doubt in many marketers. This can be often overwhelming for business users who have not faced a lot of harsh criticism. Business owners will question their abilities to get the job accomplished. As noted in the video, being able to take the criticism and learn from it should be motivation enough to be able to not doubt your abilities. On the opposite side of the spectrum it’s also important to actively listen to feedback rather than ignore it. If we are not doubting ourselves, we are often protecting our self-esteem by deflecting feedback. Many times customer feedback gives insight into things we may not have thought of. As a result we should be listening to every point that is made and not have it affect our ability to understand it. There will still be the case of a few customers who will hate the interface regardless of what changes occur. These type of customers want the perfect experience found with other competitors. You will need to focus on the core group of users who matter and they will be part of your customer base. Focusing your efforts on this group will guarantee that your investment will yield results.