User tests are paramount for creating a smoother development process and ultimately, a user-friendly tool. It’s easy to lose track of the end-game, which is adoption by users. Remember, the success of the application depends on the user experience. This is where user tests are key – they help determine if the application is intuitive, fun to use and if users will continue to use it.
User tests at Appsilon typically involve one-on-one meetings consisting of three parts:
by Maria Grycuk
User tests are a crucial part of development, yet we frequently skip over them or conduct them too late in the process. Involving users early on allows us to verify if the tool we want to build will be used or will be forgotten in the next few months.
Another risk that rises significantly when we don’t show the product to end-users before going live is that we will build something unintuitive and difficult to use. When you are working with a product for a few months and you know every button and feature by heart, it is hard to take a step back and think about usability.
In this talk, I would like to share a few tips on how to perform a user interview, based on my experience working with Fortune 500 clients on Shiny dashboards. I will show why conducting effective user tests is so critical, and explain how to ask the right questions to gain the most from the interview.
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Q: How long do these one-on-ones usually take, per session?
A: It depends on the app, but is usually 1.5-2h. And if the application is more complex we are usually going only through a part of it. I always try to save time for an open discussion at the end.
Q: You mentioned sharing POCs with mocked functionality – are there situations where users spend too much time stumbling over these mocks or spend too much time discussing desired functionality that is scheduled for “too far” in the future?
A: Oh yes! This is quite common. I am open to all feedback but if I see the conversation is not going anywhere I ask the user to go to a different part of the app. Recently I had a problem with deprecated data in the application. Users were mostly focused on this for the first few minutes. But I took some time to explain to them that this is just temporary and I would like to focus on usability.
Q: What motivated your switch from Shiny to Python+React between your POC and Final App? Or in other words, what were the limitations of Shiny or R?
A: It was a complex decision. The application has some elements written in R, but the core application is written in React and Python. The main reason was the tech stack supported by the client and the number of users (it is in the thousands and will grow). Note: It was decided at the beginning so we knew we were going to develop the final application in React and Python.
Thank you to the 1800+ members who joined the Appsilon channel and to those who participated in Maria’s presentation channel. This year’s conference was filled with informative talks and impressive keynote speakers. Appsilon is proud of our team members that gave non-sponsored talks and we are honored to help support the global R community as a platinum sponsor of useR! 2021. We are excited to see what innovations grow from the R community’s experience at useR! 2021.
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