We often hear the phrase “prevention is better than cure”. It’s gotten a bit old over time, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
This phrase sums up the zest of the article you’re going to read now. Before you roll out any product, you always test it. You basically just make sure that everything you designed is there and it works exactly like you designed it.
Testing with real users
A SaaS application only works when you’re catering to your target audience. You’re constantly rolling out small updates, fixing existing bugs. You’ve got an ever evolving application on your hands and that means your quality control should be on cutting edge as well. Especially considering your competition is most likely doing the exact same thing.
So there’s only one thing you can do to stay ahead of the curve. And that’s user testing.
What is user testing?
So, user testing helps you to stay ahead of your competition. Pretty bold statement, right?
Conducting usability tests and performing UAT projects will not only help you to gather deep insights on the life of your users but also will uncover if your application works for your users.
The goal of user testing is to “identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data and determine the participant’s satisfaction with the product.”
Usually, user tests are conducted with a selected audience, preferably in a strict and observable environment. In this environment, those testers will perform certain tasks while using your product.
Here’s why every SaaS company should consider performing user tests.
1) Users don’t know your application
Above all, users just have no clue as to what makes your application tick. And how should they? All they care about is that the application does what they think it’s supposed to do.
This means that whatever assumptions your users have, they’re probably different from the ones you have as someone who tests the application.
And since they go by an entirely different set of rules, they’ll bump into different issues than you would. A user will find that one issue you would’ve completely ignored.
Not only this, but your users are usually pretty bad at troubleshooting too. We all know those horror stories from first line IT support. Funny? Sure. But so time consuming and frustrating.
With user testing, you can ensure that the designed solution also works for your users, avoiding troubles and too much hassle after your first release.
2) Data-backed insights
Data, data, data. Data is everywhere, and it’s yours for the taking. All you need to do is grab it.
When 5 people test your application, you get some feedback, sure. Yay. But, when 1,000 people test your application, you get statistical data. That means you’ll know far better where you should put your development focus and what you should be doing to fix it.
On top of that, all that precious data covers issues that are important to your users.
It’s data that actually matter.
Even in its simplest form, a decent user testing system would allow you to ask yourself questions like “why are so many people clicking there?” or “should we start restriction a normal user’s control of the tool?”.
Insightful questions, backed by data. That’s what you’ll get.
3) Agile testing is less expensive
With user testing, you have a ton of data points you can use to your liking and improve your SaaS offering.
But, as with the traditional way of testing your application, more people meant you’d have to hire more people or spend more hours doing testing.
In contrast to traditional frameworks, agile testing requires continuous collaboration between all QA agents, team members, and testers.
4) User testing as your retention machine
Your SaaS company’s income depends on getting and keeping a constant flux of customers. If your application doesn’t keep a user’s interest, your company will lose money fast. Sounds reasonable, right?
Now, since user testing allows you to go by what a user actually wants, you’ll be able to really hone the experience. This will, in turn, allow you to keep people interested. And even more important it will be an essential part of your user retention activities.
Evernote increased user retention by 15%. Simply by conducting user tests.
Even more important, is the fact that if you react fast enough to a user’s bug report or whatever feedback you have to work with, you can keep them from getting frustrated with your service.
Get out of your office.
These days there’s just no excuse for not knowing what your users want or what your customers are complaining about.
There’re just too many ways for you to gather information on how users use your application to not do it. When you think about it, the possibility to finally be able to sit in a user’s chair, see your application through their eyes and experience what they’re experiencing, is priceless.