Why you should always do usability testing

June 3rd, 2012

A few weeks ago, we went out and tested HelloFax with some users. Most of the testing went really well. But, there was one issue that we kept seeing.

When people were adding signers, they’d click on “Signer” and “CC” on the left. They thought they were buttons!  Some members of the team kept telling me that they looked like buttons. But, there’s nothing like a confused user clicking on something to make a point.

Plus, people were also confused about where to enter in the signer’s name. We only required the email address, not the signer’s name. It wasn’t just a feature request, but a major point of confusion.  They expected it to be there.

Version 1:

Version 2:

Before you fill it in

After you fill it in

You’ll notice that we removed the “signer” / “cc” icons altogether. Turns out they weren’t helpful. We now use the default text fields to describe what they need to do:  i.e., “Signer’s Name” and “email@address.com”. That was the easiest major improvement we ever made.

There are some themes here:

– People may expect a features. The absence of the feature can be a usability problem.
– Unnecessary icons often detract from clarity. On a clean page, simple text can be powerful.
– Talk to your users all the time. There’s nothing like a confused user to push product decisions.

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