Simply implementation of “Agile UX” in projects

“Usability tests are too expensive, take too much time, and the results come way too late anyway” are clichés that unfortunately still exist today. This is exactly where Agile UX comes in, helping you and your company to test and optimize UX quickly and efficiently.

 

What is Agile UX?

Agile software development has now arrived in most companies. This has the advantage that no unnecessarily comprehensive corrective measures need to be taken. “Fail fast – learn fast” is the credo. In agile UX, user feedback is obtained within one to a maximum of two days. This feedback is instantly incorporated into the development process and aids in rapid optimization. Gone are the days of classic usability tests with prior time-consuming creation of a prototype, extensive preparation, and lengthy post-documentation. Agile UX relies on quick feedback loops and fits wonderfully into agile development.

 

Is Agile UX Testing Right for Your Project?

Agile UX tests are specifically designed for agile teams that rely on regular user feedback but don’t want to wait long for results. Agile UX tests can be used at any stage of the development process and help to uncover early usability problems or evaluate product ideas with real users. Valuable feedback on content and information architecture can be obtained even in very early stages of development. Usability problems can be tested well before implementation. This ensures that a user-friendly product is created that simply delights users.

 

Preparation is the Key to Success in Agile UX Testing

In the beginning, God said, “Prepare yourselves,” and God saw that it was good! This is how Agile UX Testing can be summarized.

As you can see, we place great importance on clean and well-founded preparation. Only in this way can we ensure that no important questions and usage scenarios are overlooked. The preparation phase includes the following steps:

  1. User Research
  2. Rough Concept and Vision
  3. Prototyping

To seamlessly integrate testing into the agile process, we focus on the last 1-2 days before the User Feedback Day. YES! There is a specific day when user feedback is collected. The advantage: Work can continue on the project until just before the User Feedback Day.

UX testing is frequent and iterative. This means we test with fewer participants, but much more often. Otherwise, it would not be possible for us to limit the duration of the tests to a maximum of one to two days.

 

The User Feedback Day

What does a User Feedback Day look like? First of all, all persons involved in the agile process are invited to the test as observers. The integration of the involved persons must not be limited to questions and acceptance. To keep everyone engaged in your project, the relevant persons must also be involved on-site. Thus, the purpose and significance of the UX test are explained in more detail to the involved persons. It also becomes clear that the first insights can be gained during the testing, but the input of all observers and decision-makers is needed.

Now that everyone is fully convinced that the time is not “wasted” but important and goal-oriented, we need to introduce observation rules:

  1. Observe at least 3-5 sessions:
    The more sessions that can be observed, the better. But before observing no session at all: Better one than none. I have found that 3-5 sessions offer the best compromise.
  2. Observe actively, not just passively:
    Those who don’t take notes are wasting a lot of knowledge and potential. Active participation of each observer in the user test is important. Notebooks stay closed, cell phones in the pocket, and conversations only during the break. At this moment, nothing is more important than the user test.
  3. Exchange during the break:
    As already mentioned in point 2: Discussions about the observations should take place during the breaks, not during the test. Besides the discussion, a break for regeneration should also be planned.

Testing alone is nice and fun, but without proper documentation, insights are lost. For this reason, it must be clear to every participant before the User Feedback Day how the observations can be recorded. There are a variety of tools that can be used. Classic Excel and Word, or via Jira, Confluence, Meistertask, etc. I personally like to use Evernote Business, where all information can be recorded in individual notes and shared with the team. No matter which method you choose: Make sure that not only the collection but also the processing of the results is regulated. To give you an idea of how an observation protocol can be standardized, I’ll give you insight into my observation protocol:

  • Name of the test person (pseudonymized)
  • Observations of behavior (did not find the “Register” button)
  • Possible solution ideas
  • Frequency of an error (to see if certain errors occur more frequently)

Based on these data, you can discuss the findings with your team. At the end of the User Feedback Day, all findings should be discussed with the involved persons.

CONCLUSION: AGILE UX TESTING IS WORTH IT

Agile UX testing is worth it. Quick feedback, manageable costs, and a product that is easy to use and excites people. Agile teams can’t get around agile UX. Because agile UX can also be wonderfully integrated into Scrum. If you want to know more about agile UX, feel free to contact me, and we can look together to see if agile UX is worthwhile for your project.

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