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Better usability testing with this user testing script

June 28, 2020

A few months ago, I shared a simple usability template that I every day in our UX design process to perform more efficient and better user testing. You can access the user testing template here.

Since then, I’ve had quite a few people asking me “how do you write a user testing script?” so I’ve decided to share how I create a user testing script when I’m performing usability testing.

What is a user testing script?

Ok so before I share the script, I want to answer a simple question that some of you might have; “what is a user testing script?”.

A user testing script is a guide that will help you moderate more consistent and efficient user testing sessions. In a nutshell, it will guide you through the interview and prompt you to ask the right questions at the right time. A good script should answer the following questions:

  1. Why you’re performing the user testing session?
  2. What you hope to achieve?
  3. How do you prepare for it?
  4. How can you ease a user into the testing session?
  5. What tasks do you need to get the user to complete?
  6. What should you do after a session?

All in all, it should arm you to perform your best as a user testing moderator and ensure you have a great testing session.

The script I use for user testing and how I use it

I use the following user testing script in all of my sessions. And I created a template to help us quickly create them so that I don’t have to worry about starting from scratch.

User testing script

A few days before the user testing sessions are planned, I sit down and spend an hour preparing for the test. I try to get this done as soon as possible and with a few days to spare so I can think revisit it a day before to see if it makes sense. You need to prepare for a user testing session. 

“By preparing you’re showing respect for people’s time, not preparing is the opposite, you’re just taking the piss.” - I said this in my previous post

I prepare for a user testing session by answering the following questions:

  1. Why are we performing user testing?
  2. How am I going to ease a user into the user testing session?
  3. What contextual information do I need from the user?
  4. What are the tasks that I need them to complete?
  5. After the user testing, what other questions would I like to get them to answer?

Once I’ve got them answered, I add them to my user testing script and print a copy of it. I’ll perform a dry run of the user testing with the script and make changes based off that. 

Grab a copy of my user testing script

Feel free to grab a copy of the script, and change it around and put your stamp on it. The only thing I would ask of you is that you share this article with your friends, family, and colleagues. ✌️

Additional resources

The GV research sprint: Finalize schedule and complete interview guide

Mastering the 5 act user interview

The Voltage Control Sprint Moderator Guide

What is a usability testing script, and why you should have one

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