Three hand drawn phones, one with a stencil of symbols laying on it, are surrounded by school supplies on a white background.

Usability Testing with Zero Budget

What You Need

1. Something to test.

2. A prioritized task list.

3. Users!

  • Do not test with professionals who have worked on the product.
  • Avoid testing with company stakeholders, whether they are associated with the project or not.
  • Seek out people in unrelated departments. Someone in accounting maybe? Someone from security or the janitorial staff?
  • Hit up family and friends.
  • Find users who would normally use your product outside of testing. For example, if you’re testing a dating app, don’t test with married couples.
  • Vary age, ethnicity and background as much as possible, depending on your user base for the site or app.
  • Try to get people who aren’t very tech savvy. Older people and those who don’t spend their day in front of a computer make great picks.
  • Never test with digital power users. (In the incredibly rare case that your users actually are power users, you can ignore this point.) If someone knows how to use keyboard shortcuts to open their browser search, for example, they’re probably too advanced for your usability test.
  • Offer small incentives. Food is a great motivator. It’s funny how people sometimes don’t want to give you their time until you mention pizza or coffee.
  • Test with at least five users.

5. The best equipment you can get for free.

6. A sidekick to help.

  • Project owner
  • Business analyst
  • Project manager
  • Marketing expert
  • Graphic designer
  • Developer

7. Approximately 5 total hours.

No Excuses

Further Reading

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