User testing

Image of a person's hands holding and using a smartphoneUser experience is about how people feel when they use something – a TV, a website, an app – especially about how easy the process was. It’s something that is key to creating a successful service.

 
User experience is considered vital, but it often concentrates on the needs of the majority and not on those with different, less common needs. This may be because the needs of this group of people are perceived as difficult to address and hard to test.
 
RNIB has many years’ experience of working with people with different needs, particularly blind and partially sighted people, carrying out expert reviews and user testing. We can help you make your website, app or product accessible and test it with our panel of blind and partially people. We have a well-equipped usability lab which is available for hire if you want to carry out your own testing, or we can test your product, website or app for you. 
 

Observed user testing

“Timeless effort has been put together to help change our lives, and I really appreciate that. It has been great being part of these trials and I wish you all the very best in this project.” – User testing participant

Our observed user testing focuses on the interaction between a person and the item they are testing. Our panel of blind and partially sighted and elderly people cover a cross-section of the general population with a wide range of technical experience. We use realistic tasks in our testing to make sure that the test represents a whole task from start to finish and our testers are representative of your customers – the ordinary person in the street – who will need to use your product or service.
 
Observed user testing should be carried out after any issues found during an initial assessment (such as WCAG audit and heuristic assessment for websites or expert assessment for a product) have been addressed. Observed user testing can be carried out with between five and 50 users, depending on the type of service being tested. A report, which can include video highlights, will detail the usability issues found and provide recommendations to resolve these. 
 
It is important to plan user tests carefully. The tasks selected need to cover key functionality and also assess different areas of the user interface. The tasks must be as realistic as possible and relate to how a person will use the product in real life. Our testing therefore includes:
  • planning and piloting of the tasks
  • recruiting users and arranging travel 
  • carrying out the actual testing
  • reporting the results.
Observed user testing is ideal during development as well. A small test of between three to five users can be carried out at development milestones to ensure that the final design is accessible and usable. Final user testing will then ideally raise few or no important usability issues.