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5 Different But Effective Types of UX Testing You Should Know

September 29, 2021 No Comments

Featured article by Natalie Redman

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Research shows that 50% of developers spend most of their time fixing issues that could have been avoided. 

This is why UX testing is such a crucial process to perform when creating and designing your products. By conducting UX testing, you can discover issues with your prototypes earlier, before the development stage is complete, to save time and resources. 

However, before you conduct successful UX testing on your prototypes, you need to know what type works best for the goal you want to achieve. 

You also need to know the factors you need to put in place before you conduct your UX testing. 

This article walks you through five practical UX testing types that help you conduct successful usability testing on your prototypes. 

You will also learn the top questions to examine before you begin your UX testing process.

Let’s begin. 

What is UX testing?

UX testing, also known as usability testing, is the process of evaluating your prototype or product with real users to discover how easy it is to use. 

By examining users’ experience through usability testing, you can figure out the challenges your users encounter when using your product to find ways to get these challenges out of their way. 

When you conduct your usability testing using the correct testing method and following the right process, you can acquire accurate user insights to create a perfect product your users would find easy-to-use. 

This is because effective usability testing reveals your users’ pain points and informs you about your users’ behavior and preference concerning your product. 

Therefore, you will be able to work with this information to improve your prototypes bearing your users’ pain points, behavior, and preference in mind. 

Keep in mind that you can conduct usability testing at any stage of your design process. So, no matter where your design process is, it’s never too late or too early to conduct usability testing. 

However, it’s advisable to conduct your usability testing early to fix issues right from the beginning. 

5 Types of usability testing methods to adopt 

Successful testing goes hand-in-hand with adopting the proper usability testing that works best for the goal you want to achieve. Here, we will uncover the best five usability testing methods that do an excellent job at testing prototypes and products. Check them out below:


Performance testing 



Performance testing involves evaluating your prototypes by giving your users a task or different tasks to perform with your products. It’s a moderated form of usability testing- which means you will be with users to observe their experiences with your product. 

It’s a combination of different approaches to usability testing. And all these approaches let you observe, ask questions and take notes of your users’ behavior, challenges and preferences along the way. 

An effective performance testing dwells heavily on questioning and moderating. 

The questions you ask your users during performance testing are based on the goals you want to achieve with your usability testing. 

For example, what kind of attitudinal and behavioral findings do you want to discover? Figuring this out can give you a direction of which questions to ask your users. 

Also, assign tasks that are channeled towards achieving your goals. As your users carry out their tasks, you will then observe and ask questions when necessary. 

There are four major approaches to performance testing. They include: Concurrent Think Aloud (CTA), Retrospective Think Aloud (RTA), Concurrent Probing (CP), Retrospective Probing (RP).

The CTA approach involves telling your users to express their thought process aloud when performing a prototype task. 

The RTA approach involves requesting your users to give details about their process after completing the task. The CP approach involves asking your participants questions while they carry out a task. 

Lastly, the RP approach involves noting your participants’ specific actions and asking them about them after performing the task. 

Note that these approaches can be combined to get the most of your performance testing. 


Card sorting

Card sorting is a type of usability testing that helps you uncover how your users categorize their information. 

Rather than structure your site based on what you think works, you can sample your users’ opinions to know what structure works best for them with the card sorting technique. 

You give your participants blank cards, or you give them cards you’ve labeled with the names of the sections on your prototypes. You then ask your participants to arrange the cards according to the sections they think go best together. 

The card sorting method is a useful approach to employ at the beginning of your design process. Through card sorting, you can create an Information Architecture (IA) for your product that your users will find seamless to use. 

It gives you insights on where your users expect to find a category or section when using your product, so you can structure your product accordingly to provide a straightforward experience for your users. 


Tree testing

Tree testing is a usability testing method that is conducted to discover the findability of topics or sections in a product. 

Tree testing involves examining a hierarchical category structure, also known as the tree. You evaluate this hierarchical category structure by having your participants find the locations in the tree where specific activities can take place. 

By getting your participants to find locations on the tree, and where they go to complete a task, you can organize the content on your website based on where your users expect them to be. 

Although card sorting and tree testing aim to achieve the same objective (which is helping your users navigate your site easily), each method requires a different approach and is used at different times. 

For example, you can employ the card sorting approach at the initial stage of your Information Architecture (AI). Then, you can use tree testing to evaluate your current website navigation. 



Eye-tracking is a usability testing method that examines your users’ eye movements. It gives you insight into where your users are looking on your page and for how long. 

The areas where your users’ gaze is known as “fixation” while the movement that occurs between fixation points is the “saccade.” By examining the saccades, you can view the path your users’ eyes are taking on a page.

Eye-tracking is conducted to know where your users’ attention is drawn to on your page. Which page interests them, and why.

With the information you gather with eye tracking, you can work towards drawing your users’ eyes to the elements that matter the most while they use your product.


Five-second testing

Five-second testing is a type of usability testing that lets you track how fast your users understand your product. 

For five seconds, you show your audience a part of your product, perhaps an image, icon, logo, or more. After which, you will ask your users what they think or remember about the object you just showed them.

The test takes five seconds because research shows visitors spend about five seconds assessing if they should continue exploring your site or leave. 

So, within these five seconds, you want to examine if your audience understands your product’s purpose. You also want to know their perception of its usability and design. 

The insight you gather from the result of the five seconds test can give you an idea of if your audience can easily understand your products’ value and find it simple-to-use so, you can make improvements where needed. 

Factors to consider before conducting usability testing 

Many things can go wrong with your usability testing if you don’t get three critical things out of your way before you begin. Find out what these crucial factors are below:


Your goal 


You shouldn’t perform usability testing for the sake of it. Instead, you should identify your goal. For example, why are you conducting usability testing? What results do you hope to achieve? 

Understanding your goal will help you determine what type of usability testing to adopt and how to go about it to achieve your goal. 


Your participants 


The next factor to consider is the type of people who will participate in the usability testing. It helps to use the people who actually use your products because you can get real facts about their challenges and expectations of your product. 


Your questions 


Asking your participants the right questions at the right time can help you get the best of your usability testing. So, figure out your questions and identify at what stage of the test to ask these questions.

Also, keep the questions open-ended to give room for detailed feedback from your users. 


Usability testing is essential to creating a product your audience finds enjoyable to use. However, the key to usability testing that brings the expected results is to follow the right usability method.  

This article discussed five effective usability testing types to guide you in selecting a suitable usability testing method that works to achieve your goal. 

These usability testing types include performance testing, card sorting, tree testing, eye tracking, and 5-second test.

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About the Author

Natalie Redman (LinkedIn)

Freelance writer for many clients across multiple industries. Natalie has two years of copywriting experience. Natalie has a wide range of experience copywriting for web pages for businesses across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a Youtube content creator.

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