A Better Way to Measure User Experience with Your Products

User Experience Testing is Inherently Biased

From foods to consumer products, web applications to games, measuring the experience of your users is vital to continued success and improvement. This typically involves some form of observation in a controlled environment to understand how people use a product.

While this type of user experience testing is invaluable, the testing environment itself often creates bias and can, therefore, be flawed. The following biases are common:

  1. The Hawthorne Effect – When users know they’re being observed, they tend to behave differently.
  2. Task-Selection Bias – When we create a task for a user to complete, they know it must be possible to complete it.
  3. Social Desirability – This is the tendency for users to tell you what you want to hear; they are less likely to say unfavorable things about the product.
  4. Availability – Your testers are often volunteers, which limits your scope to people who are available, rather than a realistic set of users.
  5. Honorariums – When people are paid or receive products free or at a discounted rate, this becomes the sole motivator behind taking the test, and honest results are not likely.
  6. Skewed Importance – If you ask them about it, people will give you an opinion, even if they didn’t really care or notice the issue to begin with.
  7. The Recency Effect – This is the tendency to rate things that just happened more heavily than earlier events.

Overcome Bias with Product Review Analysis

Product reviews don’t contain a lot of the bias that is ingrained in traditional user testing. First off, users don’t have the observer effect because they are writing the review in the comfort of their own home, at a time when they’re compelled to do so. They’re writing what’s top of mind to them about the product, not answering the questions that you think might be important. This is the most honest and legitimate way to measure user experience with your products.

User Experience Testing vs. Consumer Reviews

User Experience testing can create an environment that results in unintended biases. While consumer reviews are the true voice of the consumer.