In this article, I'll explain how I recently user-tested my own pre-launch SaaS product – Useroo, with just one 1 participant. I'll talk about what I learned and why I trusted the findings enough to act upon them.
Useroo is my first ever SaaS product; I have co-founded, built and (simultaneously) sold two businesses, including a software company, but that was pre-SaaS, so there is much new ground for me here. A personal objective for this project is to learn loads.
We have a first draft landing page for Useroo. The messaging on the landing page is already a step behind where the Useroo proposition is. Still, I was happy to use it for user testing as I knew it would be great for facilitating a conversation about our offer.
Once logged in, the application itself works, and I suspect the user experience is close to beta launch quality. At my consultancy - Userfy, I have spent several years delivering in-depth, moderating user testing for businesses, including SaaS companies, and so I've been able to apply a lot of those learnings to the v1 UX.
Usually, in my work at Userfy, I am the cure to the Curse of Knowledge our clients are experiencing. They are too close to their project and know too much to make objective decisions from a customer perspective; our independent Userfy user testing addresses all of that. However, with Useroo, I feel I am too immersed already to rely on my judgement; indeed, that would be dangerous.
Earlier this week, I hooked up on Zoom with the Head of User Experience at a multi-million-pound agency. We initially intended the call to discuss the Useroo proposition with the possibility of the agency joining our Roo Crew (advisory panel of Useroo users). However, as the 'participant' started looking at our current landing page, I realised this was fast becoming a user test, so I asked if I could start recording. I went into moderator mode and gave him some Useroo login details.
When I run user testing projects for Userfy clients, it is meticulous. Lots of time is spent on planning and preparation and considering every angle. Often, I'll run a pilot test too. So, in this spontaneous case, my moderation was pretty ropey and had little structure, but the session was still super-insightful.
We discussed the participant's needs, pain points and current solutions. We looked at the current landing page, simulated a new user login, tested a new user's first impressions of the dashboard, and tested the journey for creating a first impressions test on Useroo. This one test with a real potential user, who very much fits the profile of our target customer, gave me so many beneficial insights.
This test boosted confidence in my assumptions that:
Many current user testing platforms have become complex and feel overkill for simple user testing tasks like page testing.
Customers are aware of the high licence fees for user testing platforms.
There would be an appetite for a simple-to-use page testing platform priced very competitively.
Useroo needs to be able to test mobile pages.
The participant found the Useroo landing page and our updated proposition very factual; he suggested we tell more of our story about why we are building Useroo as it's authentic, relatable and relevant.
The participant had great suggestions for an improved, more engaging, and meaningful headline.
We need to show more of the product, more of the dashboard and interface on the public website.
Tell the stories of the founders, as it adds credibility.
Useroo has a very personable feel, but the participant pointed out that there is no personal welcome greeting when a new user logs in for the first time; it feels pretty cold.
There was a button on the dashboard that I had become blind to. Despite deploying numerous tests myself, I had never clicked the Summary button; the participant did click it, and the link was broken. I was so immersed that I would have released Useroo to Beta testers without realising this.
There is an example project for users to view on the dashboard, and the participant found it very useful, but it was clear there were several ways we could improve this to meet his information needs at this stage.
When looking at the example test feedback area on the dashboard, the participant had difficulty knowing which tested content the feedback related to, and we will now show the content that each answer relates to.
Again, due to blindness, I hadn't recently clicked on "Download feedback as CSV"; the participant experienced an issue with this experience.
In Useroo, we recommend GoFullPage as a screenshotting webpage tool; the participant has had great experiences with Awesome Screenshot, so we have added that to the list.
When uploading a webpage to be tested, the participant needed to know what file types were acceptable; we have added this.
In all my testing, the webpages I had uploaded for testing had worked fine; I didn't realise our file size limit would be a problem.
The participant could not upload the webpage he wanted to test because the file was 8.1MB, and we had an 8MB limit; we have increased the file size allowance and added information about file size.
Useroo offers two ways to test a page – upload a file or point to a URL. The point to a URL option was labelled "Screenshot a website", this caused uncertainty for the participant, so we have improved the copy for this option.
The participant tried the inbuilt Useroo webpage capture to grab the page he wanted to test. He wasn't happy with the rendering of the page, and so clicked the 'It's Wrong' button, this displayed an informative pop-up, but he wanted to delete the screenshot at this point; we are adding this option.
When adding a First Impressions Test, the user can select for how many seconds the webpage is visible before it disappears and the Roo asks about it. The participant mentioned that it would be good to have some guidance on this. We have added the recommendation that users display their pages for between 12 and 15 seconds.
The participant found the pre-suggested bank of questions very supportive, and he easily edited, re-ordered, and added questions.
When adding a question, the participant closed the pop-up without using the add question fields, yet he found this added a blank question to his test; this has been fixed.
As I have run many user tests for clients, maybe I am getting a feel for the relevance of the findings. Also, even with a sample of six participants in a user test (a standard Userfy user test), it is still the role of the user researcher and other stakeholders to discuss and decide which of the findings are reasonably likely to be experienced by enough of the wider user base to justify being acted upon.
Even if only a tiny percentage of users will experience an issue, if fixing it is simple and quick and has no potential knock-on effects, it makes sense to act on that one finding.
This was a test with one participant on the landing page, onboarding experience and one of the main Useroo features, but I learned much and have improved my product as a result.
Please give me a shout if you are interested in trying out Useroo or to discuss how I could work with you to optimise your messaging, content and user experience.
Phil Randall (Owner at Userfy)