We asked ChatGPT to devise 15 excuses a Product Manager or UX Designer might give for skipping user testing. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you don’t believe user testing is a worthwhile investment of time, money, or resources. That’s very, very naughty of you, and we would like to remind you why you should be conducting regular user tests on your product or service.
Top 15 excuses for skipping user testing
And now the fun begins. We’re going to debunk all 15 excuses for skipping user testing, according to everyone’s best friend ChatGPT. So grab a nice beverage and put your feet up – this could take a while.
Excuse 1: “A lack of understanding of the benefits of user testing.”
ChatGPT gets it. We already know that user testing is crucial to the product design process. Still, it also provides a whole range of hidden benefits. There are too many to mention here, but you should check out our article ‘5 reasons why user testing is non-negotiable in 2023‘ to find out more.
Right, moving on. We have another 20 of these bad boys to get through.
Excuse 2: “User testing is too expensive.”
Oh, hogwash. You can get started with your first two user tests for free, with no payment method required. And once you’re finished, you can enjoy another three user tests for only $99 with Userbrain’s Starter plan.
For context, you can run 36 complete user tests in a year for less than the price of this pen. I know, right? The world’s gone barmy.
Excuse 3: “User testing is unnecessary because the team already knows what the users want.”
In the words of the great Albert Einstein, “assumptions are made, and most assumptions are wrong”. It’s fair to say that throughout human history, most of our assumptions have outlived all usefulness.
Now, we’re sure the team is competent, and nobody knows your product as well as the team who built it! But understanding what users actually want is different.
While the team may have a general understanding of how the product should meet users’ needs, conducting user testing can reveal unexpected insights and hidden usability challenges. Without regular user testing, there’s a chance that you’ll create a product that the intended audience can’t understand.
Excuse 4: “User testing is too time-consuming.”
Did you know that you can set up a user test in less than 5 minutes? Seriously, we’ve timed it! Thanks to our simple UI, ready-made test templates, and easy ordering process, a Userbrain user test takes less time to set up than literally any IKEA furniture. We’ve all been there…
Regular user testing can save you a lot of time (and headaches) in the long run. By identifying issues earlier in the product development process, you can save your team a massive amount of time and resources while preventing costly redesigns later on.
Excuse 5: “User testing is only relevant for certain products.”
Does your product or service have users? Well… you can see where we’re going with this, can’t you?
In reality, user testing is always relevant to your product or service, regardless of the genre of your creation. As a Product Owner or UX Designer, you’re trying to gain valuable insights into how users interact with and perceive your product.
The bottom line is that if you have users, you need to know how they interact with your product, regardless of what your product actually is.
Excuse 6: “User testing only provides feedback on surface-level issues.”
It’s easy to fall into this trap – we forgive you. But consider this. When you conduct regular user tests, not only are you gaining valuable feedback and insights into your product. By observing real users interact with your product, user testing will also reveal behavior patterns and hidden pain points.
Think of it this way. Conducting a user test allows you a window into the user’s mind. Yes, they might be testing your product. Still, you are also gaining behavioral insights which your team could never discover through traditional research methods, such as surveys or focus groups. Regular user tests provide a more realistic, contextual understanding of how your product is really used, which can help inspire more use-centric design ideas.
Excuse 7: “The team can rely on analytics and data instead of user testing.”
Look, let’s get one thing straight. We love a heat map as much as the next guy, but there’s a time and a place for mountains of data and the user research process just ain’t it.
While it’s true that quantitative research can provide a good starting point, analytics and data can only offer a limited understanding of user experience. Yes, your analytics can show what users are doing. Still, they can’t show you why they did it—understanding the ‘why’ is crucial to understanding your users!
Data points are great in small doses, but it’s easy to be blinded by them. The fact is, analytics can often be misleading, and they are of no qualitative value to your user research process.
On the other hand, user testing allows you and your team to observe and interact with users directly, providing a comprehensive understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and motivating factors. The only way to understand and empathize with your users is by conducting regular qualitative user testing.
Excuse 8: “User testing only provides negative feedback.”
You’ll be pleasantly surprised if you believe that user testing is only about receiving complaints and negative feedback. Of course, user testing helps us find areas that need improvement. Still, it also helps us discover what users love about our product. Can you imagine creating a product without knowing what users enjoy about it? It would be like trying to bake a cake without a recipe.
Consider user testing as a method of obtaining valuable insights, both positive and negative. It’s like getting praise and encouragement from your users. And who doesn’t like a little positive reinforcement? Not only that, but user testing also helps us understand the reasoning behind user behavior and decision-making, which is essential for creating a user-centered design.
So, the next time you feel the temptation to skip the user testing phase, remember that it’s about fixing problems and discovering the good stuff. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love some good news now and then?
Excuse 9: “User testing is only for early stages of product development.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you update your product from time to time. If I’m correct in my assumption, how do you know those new features aren’t a total turn-off for your users? Just because a product seems to work well from the get-go doesn’t mean it’ll meet your users’ needs two weeks, six months, or five years down the line.
For instance, imagine you launched a social media platform, and it was the hottest ticket in town. You did some pre-launch user testing, and all your test users loved what you built. But then you stopped testing because “user testing is only for the early stages.”
So what would happen when, a few months later, you decided to add some advanced new features and change the UI around to accommodate shiny new buttons and widgets? On the surface, all is well. Users can now share their photos, start live streaming, and even host conference call with their colleagues using your platform – great work!
However, as user behavior and preferences evolve, the user base starts dwindling. Your once-loyal users seem disinterested and leave your platform in droves. Why did they go? You’ll only know if you have conducted regular user tests!
On the other hand, consistent incorporation of user feedback can help develop your platform by ensuring that all new features are relevant and easy to use. To ensure the long-term success of your product, user testing must be a vital component of the feedback loop at every stage of the product development process.
Excuse 10: “User testing is only for digital products.”
While it’s true that user testing is essential to the success of all digital products, many practices fall under the ‘user testing’ umbrella. What we offer at Userbrain is unmoderated remote user testing. After over a decade in the user experience design space, we consider this technique the creme-de-la-creme for testing digital products.
However, for physical non-digital products, there are a variety of user testing methods available, too. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:
- Prototype testing: to evaluate an early version of your physical product to pinpoint functional issues.
- UX testing: to test the overall usability of your product
- Durability testing: to evaluate your product’s resistance to wear and tear in harsh environments.
- Environmental testing: to assess the product’s performance with varying conditional factors, such as humidity or extreme temperature.
- Accessibility testing: to determine whether people with various disabilities can use your product.
- UI testing: test your physical product’s buttons, controls, and other interfaces.
- Safety testing: ensure your product won’t cause unintended consequences through use or misuse.
Excuse 11: “User testing is only for B2C products.”
If that’s the case, you’ll be surprised by how many users testing we do on the Userbrain product ourselves! We ranked in the top 10 Userbrain users for hours of user tests watched in 2022. And, to tell you the truth, our B2B user testing tool wouldn’t be half as popular if it wasn’t for the continued help and support of our 100,000+ testers from 150+ countries.
After all, we’re offering our services to people at the end of the day, whether B2C or B2B. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but people make business decisions, and those people are your consumers.
For example, imagine you spent months pouring your blood, sweat, and tears into creating a revolutionary new industrial tool – a B2B product. If you didn’t take the time to test it with real users – factory workers – there might be a hidden flaw in the design that you needed to account for. This could make your product challenging to use in particular working environments. As a result, production slows down, your client loses business, and customers go elsewhere. Your tool is to blame because you didn’t test it thoroughly, and your reputation is almost irreparably damaged.
Whether B2B or B2C, user testing is fundamentally important because it helps ensure every customer receives a great experience.
Excuse 12: “User testing is only for specific age groups.”
Hopefully we can all agree that every user, regardless of age, sex, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, financial status, or shoe size, deserves an awesome user experience when they use your product or service.
New mobile apps are constantly launched and tested exclusively with people under 30. What about the 65-year-old who wants to use your product but needs help understanding the UI? Often products and services fail not because they don’t provide value but because they don’t provide value consistently across the board to all user groups.
What might seem like second nature to an 18-year-old could simultaneously be a usability nightmare for grandma or vice versa. The solution is to be inclusive with your user tests; include all age groups to ensure your product works for everyone.
Excuse 13: “User testing is unnecessary because our team already has a diverse group of people.”
A diverse team can be a great start to the user testing process. After all, we each have different lives, experience levels, and interests. What might be easy for you could be a usability concern highlighted by your colleague.
However, while having a diverse team is a good start, it doesn’t mean that user testing is redundant – far from it. Just because someone is a different race, gender, or age doesn’t mean they have the same life experiences or UI preferences as your target audience.
You might have a diverse team of tech-savvy engineers creating a groovy new kitchen appliance. But suppose none of them can make a spaghetti bolognese without burning the pasta. In that case, their in-house user testing is practically worthless. Without proper and consistent user testing, any product is likely to flop. It would help if you started user testing to ensure your product truly resonates with its intended audience.
Excuse 14: “User testing is unnecessary because the team already has a user-centered design process.”
Despite often being considered a luxury or nice-to-have, user testing is critical to any user-centered design process. It’s as simple as that.
Suppose your team claims to have a ‘user-centered design process’ that doesn’t include user testing as a key ingredient. In that case, I hate to break it to you, but your design process is just… self-centered.
If you want to create something that users want to use, Userbrain’s top tip is to actually talk to users!
Excuse 15: “User testing is unnecessary because we have a good track record of successful products.”
Just because you have a good track record of delivering successful products doesn’t mean user testing should take a back seat. Imagine a pilot saying, “the autopilot has a great track record, so I’ll just let it do it’s thing while I take a dump during the final approach.” That’s leaving a lot to chance, don’t you think? And just because you’ve never had an accident before doesn’t mean you should stop wearing a seatbelt. It might have worked out fine and dandy in the past, but past performance is never an accurate predictor of future results. User testing is an insurance policy for the future success of your product. It helps to identify potential issues and opportunities for improvement while ensuring that your next big hit is even bigger than your last!
So, there you have it, folks – the 15 most common excuses for skipping user testing debunked. Suppose you still need convincing of the value of user testing. In that case, you might want to book a one-way trip to the moon because you’re living in a different universe from the rest of us. In conclusion, user testing is worth every penny, every second, and every drop of sweat. It’s the secret ingredient to making your product or service a hit, so why skip it? Get testing, get results and get ahead of the game!