Testing A Design For Effectiveness

Every design is a gamble. Have you ever thought why so many designers have stories to tell of being caught in revision loop by endlessly adjusting layout and changing color palette hoping to finally get sign off from the customer? In the end, this whole thing project budgeting and planning into extremely complicated venture. Typically, that’s because the design concept lacks sufficient testing. The general rule of thumb in this case is test early, test often.

There is a common belief that testing a design is something that a budget can’t afford since it is too expensive and time-consuming. But the truth is that it brings predictability to an entire project, making things go more constructively. Not only is this useful, it is also super profitable. Catching misassumptions and mistakes at an early stage means that you can fix them as cost-effective and quickly as possible. Even if a project is already underway, design testing can make the full process more effective and predictable. In this posting, we’ve decided to talk about testing a design for efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction as these are three criteria that you should always strive to meet. So grab a cup of tea and let’s get going. 


What Is Design Testing?

As mentioned, we decided to use efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction as universal criteria to be applied to measure the design concept’s effectiveness in meeting goals. But what does it mean to be efficient, effective, and satisfying? Let’s define those in detail.

  • Efficiency

In design, efficiency comes down to the time it takes users to complete certain task. In other words, did your users manage to find what they needed and how difficult it was to get there?

  • Effectiveness

Although effectiveness is of a broad definition, it is typically about keeping track of quality, accuracy of task completion, and error rates.

In other words, do your users understand how it works/what it does at all?

  • Satisfaction

User satisfaction is probably the most important aspect of any design. Even if your web or mobile app works perfectly, it means nothing if most of those using it hate it.

Basically, what can you do to achieve these early on? Here’s where design testing comes in.

Things to Consider When Testing Design Concept

Here is some elements you should focus on while running testing sessions:

  • Visual design

Determine if your visuals are brand-aligned, clear, and consistent.

  • User flow

Check how proposed flow impacts your users’ behavior and experience 

  • Data architecture

Try out various approaches to data architecture to see which one fits best.

  • Features

This section should be prioritized, especially when creating prototypes.

  • Design concept

The last but not the least: do not forget to validate the product idea against your market needs.

Conducting Design Testing

Speaking of testing your design concept, you can either conduct Central Location Test (CTL), or go with a Home Usage Test (HUT). 

  1. Central Location Test 

This test is conducted within a particular environment, such as your office or lab. This allows for more participants to be involved and ensures easy moderation. CTL provides fast results and saves your budget. 

  1. Home Usage Test

This approach means that your web or mobile app is shipped to your intended audience to be used in a real-life setting. Of course, it is more expensive, however, it provides a more accurate evaluation.


Design Testing Methods

Speaking of testing your design concept, there are some of the common methods to do that:

It refers to a controlled study in which you compare 2+ versions of a flow/page in order to optimize a certain metric/result. A/B testing allows to improve design concept with minimal risk. It is perfect for polishing your web or mobile app, but first you need to create a strong story and UX design to get it work.

  • Card sorting

This method is best to use at the beginning of the development process. It helps build data architecture that perfectly matches user expectations. Card sorting provides the ability to guide the structure of your service/product.

  • Heuristic analysis

This method is a UI inspection approach allowing to compare your design concept against recognized UI principles. It reveals the most important design issues and is much easier and quicker than actual UI testing.

  • UI testing

This method allows to detect issues and then iterate based on direct user feedback. It is recommended to return to UI testing during the whole development process as it uncovers new insights every time even a minor change is made. 


Key Takeaways

Design testing + user research = high-quality web or mobile app that will delight your users. Testing a design concept early on in the process will not solve all your issues. However, it leads to better design solutions, thus saving your time and budget. At Loonar Studios, we know that it will all be worth it when everyone is raving about your product! Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Stay safe!