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We Did a Drive-By User Test and Lived to Tell About It

How do you follow up a week full of looking back? By pushing forwards!

This week we finally put down the books, stopped all the chitter-chatter and went out and did a user test.

I know. We were excited too.

If you’re anything like us, you read a lot about user testing online. Five reasons you should do this or 10 ways to improve that. It’s not that those are bad articles, it’s just that they’re not touching what happens in a real test.

Last Friday, Newman and I went down to the local coffee shop in Wrightsville Beach, NC. It’s called The Daily Grind. We walked in to an empty house, except for Kate, the lovely barista on staff. We chatted with her and her boss, Tony, for a few minutes to explain what we were up to and before you know it Kate had volunteered to take a user test.

Our goal was to do what we’re calling a “drive-by” user test. Basically, it means you can just roll up on somebody – ask them a question about a website – and see what you get back. It’s not meant to be scientific. Just more of a survey. It’s our belief that even this quick method will yield valuable insights.

We could tell you all about what we did but we shot a video of it instead.

Way better.

In the video you’ll see the entire user test (roughly 6 minutes) and Newman’s thoughts afterward.  All-in-all, I have to say, it was a pretty good first attempt.

Thanks again to Kate – your pictures rawk! – for being our user tester and for Tony and the gang allowing us to bother their shop. As you’ll hear in my voice on Monday’s podcast where we did a whole before and after thing, their coffee will put a motor in you. No doubt.

Join us on Friday when we talk about what we learned from the user test – both about user testing and about the website we tested – and then on Monday  – the day after Christmas – for your aural pleasure, we have a podcast lined up and ready to go about the whole event.

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