How We Setup Upfront User Testing

Upfront user testing allows us to test our designs with real people, to find out if they understand the design, what they like / don’t like and a number of other questions. This helps us to refine the design and make it better, ahead of development.

Design isn’t finished until someone is using it

Below is a step-by-step process of how we run user testing. The tools and services we’re using are as follows:

Setting Up a User Testing Roadmap

First of all we begin with the goals we want to achieve from our tests. A simple goal could be – Do users prefer design A or Design B (or C, or D, etc) – this is known as a preference test.

For a preference test we define the designs we’re going to upload, then wait for the answers to roll in. Once a clear winner is picked, we’ll run with this design an may make alterations to it to improve it further.

Our user testing roadmap (a posh name for a spreadsheet) is where we record all the tests. This not only keeps a record of the results, but also acts as a handy document to remind you what you were testing for (providing you record the information before the test).

The information we document

We document information such as:

  • The titles of the variations we’re testing
  • The tests we’re running e.g. A preference test
  • A short description of the design and/or the test
  • A hypothesis – e.g. By using Green on the button, we will drive more click-throughs
  • Goals – what’s the goal of test? What do people prefer? Or, what did they click to perform a task?

The tests we’re running today

We have a financial client JL Money who we’re running tests for 2 main things today; a preference test for their new brand and a preference test, click test and five second test for their new website design (which we’ve designed).

  • Preference Tests
    To find out what users prefer, we upload 2 designs and they choose their favourite.
  • Click Test
    We visualise where users click. We set instructions for testers, such as “Where would you click to view your profile?”. Testers click on the design to carry out the instructions and we find out of our click targets (such as buttons and links) are obvious.
  • Five Second Test
    Measure our users’ first impressions. We choose questions that test user recall, like “What do you think that page was about?” The design is shown to testers for just five seconds (this is the average time a user will be on a website when they first visit it), then vanishes. Testers are then asked to answer our questions to find out if we delivered a design that they understood.

The goal of the tests


The goal of the tests is to get an objective view from real users about what they prefer and how they use the designs. This data informs our designs and will allow us to see the designs from the eyes of our intended audience, in order that we can be confident that we launch the site with a design that can be understood and used with ease.

The audience – our users


Our audience, or as we say “users” are a mix of male and female between 18 – 65 from the UK (United Kingdom). The products which JL Money offer have a very broad appeal, so the target audience is varied. It’s worth noting that we can also setup very specific audiences such as females 25 – 35 into health and fitness.

The Design’s We’re Testing

Brand Identity Tests

Which design does our user prefer?

Web Design Tests