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Why You Should Start A Beta Program Today (And How To Do It)

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 26, 2014 5:30:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing, ux, Beta Testing

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If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with some user research around your product and really find out how your product fits with what your users need and want, a beta program is one of the ways to feedback and get the product in the hands of users quickly. If you’re just getting started, a beta program does takes some time to get going. But after that, it’s basically just maintenance. By definition, a beta test is a trial of software in the final stages of its development, carried out by someone not directly developing the product. Beta tests give you actionable feedback and useful data that will make your product measurably better. Once you see how valuable it is to get users’ eyes on features prior to releasing them, you won’t go back. Beta testing helps you see if users will actually use a feature, where as other research, like customer stories, personas and usability testing, tell you if something is valuable and usable.


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6 People a UX Researcher Works With

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 13, 2014 11:52:00 AM / by Rachel Decker posted in Usability Testing, ux, Software Development, UX Team

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Being a UX researcher isn’t a one-lady show. There’s no way we can do it alone. Even though there are only two of us at HubSpot, we work with many incredibly talented people throughout the process of helping to make a new piece of software more user friendly. But for now, let’s just cover the top six.

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Using Customer Happiness Surveys to Make Customers Happier (And Get Some Good Data)

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 17, 2014 6:00:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing, ux, Customer Happiness, Surveys

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At HubSpot, we are often gathering feedback from our customers. We give users opportunities to provide it while in the actual software, as well as quarterly customer happiness surveys. Once collected, this data is readily available for the entire company, and I was on a mission to use it.

Have you ever filled out a survey and felt like no one was really looking at the results? This is pretty common when happiness surveys are sent out via email to a large customer base for any website, software or store. This is no different at HubSpot - some customers assume it’s sent out and collected by a third party with no real pull. While this is not the case (we have an employee dedicated to analyzing these surveys), there is no real follow-up with the customers after they provide these thoughts. That’s where the user research team comes in.

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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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[Guest Post] 5 Tips for Writing Awesome Software Documentation

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 10, 2014 5:30:47 AM / by Zenya Molnar posted in ux

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Documentation is everywhere, whether it is in the form of a user manual for a new television, an article on how to use Photoshop, or a recipe for how to bake a chocolate cream torte. As the documentation writer on the UX team at HubSpot, I write user guides that 920-192 cover all aspects of the tools in the product, from their basic functions to best practices and strategy. Through my writing adventure, I have gathered some advice for creating top-notch documentation.


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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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