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Recruiting Non-Users for Usability Tests

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 24, 2014 7:30:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing, ux, Recruiting

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One of the most important aspects of conducting successful usability tests is having the best users possible. At HubSpot, we have a database of 300+ customers who are eager and willing to help us at the drop of a hat. However, there are plenty of situations where testing current users of our software would not be helpful, so we begin a search for non-customers.

Recruiting non-users for usability studies is much harder than the process of finding people who use your product. Some of the main issues I’ve encountered are:

  • They don’t owe you anything - you’re not helping them at the moment
  • If they don’t show for the test, it’s no loss to them
  • They are solely speaking with you for the gift at the end of the test

I’ve had my fair share of duds when recruiting for non-user testing, so I’ve adapted and created a process that works best for me here at HubSpot. I learned a lot from Google Venture’s Michael Margolis in his blog post on recruiting, and have created a flow that works best for me when finding participants for a non-user test.

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Writing Up and Sharing User Research [Template Download]

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 14, 2014 6:00:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing

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You've recruited the users, run the tests and completed the research. But how do you share that with the rest of your team? Presenting the findings of your usability testing sessions in an easy to read summary is one of the best ways to get the rest of your team (or your company) to stay up to date with all of your results. Most of your colleagues don't have time to read the notes and watch the recordings of each test, but have a vested interest in how it all turned out. Since we do a lot of quick, high-turnaround testing at HubSpot(for example, the addition of a preview feature to a heavily-used email editing screen), we find that we often just need to share our findings in a low-fidelity way to the key stakeholders. 

At HubSpot, we have an internal wiki where we post all testing results for the entire organization to see. We use a particular structure that outlines everything about the testing, including goals, images of the prototypes being tested, background on the users we're talking with, and our analysis of the results.

Getting to these results requires some planning. Besides writing up some administrative information around the users and the test, we need to outline goals and tasks to include in the write-up.

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Recruiting Customers for Usability Testing

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 5, 2014 10:44:41 AM / by Rachel Decker posted in Usability Testing, Recruiting

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One of the biggest (and best) parts of my job is talking to and gathering feedback from HubSpot customers. Luckily for me, many of our customers are passionate users of the software and they genuinely care about what our product team working on. Between working on the HubSpot Support and UX teams in the last 2.5 years, I’ve talked to thousands of customers. But when I’m looking to run usability testing with customers, I have to be choosey.

How do I know which customers to talk to about new pieces of software? And how do I continue to grow my customer usability testing database?

At HubSpot, we have a few different avenues we use to grow our database:

  • Promoting our landing pages

  • Internal referrals

  • Previous feedback

Let's dive in...

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Usability Testing at a Fast Paced Company

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 4, 2014 10:52:39 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing

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Originally posted on the HubSpot Dev Blog.

At HubSpot, we have one of the fastest development teams around. Our dev team continuously deploys code, up to 100 times per day, so our product is constantly changing. This leads to several challenges for us on the UX team, whose job it is to ensure that the software is easy and enjoyable to use.

One big challenge we have is to conduct usability testing in this crazy fast environment. As you may know, usability testing is often one of the first things dropped from the "must have" list of product release schedules. There are several reasons for this, common assumptions that are made about usability testing:

  • Usability testing takes too long or is too slow
  • Usability testing is too hard to get right
  • We can get the same data in other, easier ways

All of these assumptions are common but do not stand up to scrutiny. When done well, usability testing doesn't slow down the release process, it's not too hard to do, and it provides uniquely valuable information about your product that you simply can't get in other ways.

So at HubSpot, we've refined our usability testing process to be as fast as possible. We continually test our software with every product team, being sure to implement testing in a way that does not slow any of our developers down. Here are eight things we've learned:

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