We’ve all heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once”. It brings to my mind images of carpenters building a house and taking a few extra moments to double check their measurement before they waste time and resources by cutting a board in the wrong spot.
Carpentry has been around for thousands of years, my profession of user experience design no where near as long.
As digital designers the medium for our art is never permanently altered like a piece of wood after it’s cut. We build with vector files and lines of code and can simply change the order of the ones and zeros to undo a mistake. We can even use tools like Git to undo hours or even weeks of work if we want to change directions. I’ve recently been thinking that has been both a blessing and a curse.
The carpenter builds for the future owner of what he is building; we build for our users. The carpenter knows the board will work by cutting it in the correct location. UX Designers can know their products will work by doing user testing.
By placing an emphasis on user testing early in our development process we can avoid designing and coding down rabbit trails, developing features that either won’t fulfill their purpose or maybe not even needed at all.
I recently heard someone say that they did not have time or resources to do user testing. I believe they thought of it as an extra step. They are being short sighted and in reality they could save time and money by doing user testing before the developers start coding. User testing adds a sense of security in that you can know the final product is viable before the first line of code is written.
Some businesses are large enough that the actual developers don’t do the testing, they either have a dedicated UX team or they outsource their testing. Either way the results are the same. Testing before coding will result in a product that will better do the job for which it was built.