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User testing at Root: Why we challenge our products

User testing at Root: Why we challenge our products

Miré de Swardt  •  13 July 2022

A new product or feature is always accompanied by users who challenge it. Questions like “Why can’t I find what I am looking for?” or, “Why is this page taking forever to load?” are common when businesses haven’t taken the time to understand what the user really wants. User testing offers the opportunity for you to challenge your own product before it’s launched into the real world and challenged by real users.

🔎 Why user research isn’t enough

When you create a new product, it’s important to keep the targeted users in mind. To put it simply, what’s the point of cooking a meal if you don’t know who is coming for dinner? Along with market-related research, user research sets the stage for the entire product process. It enables your organisation to identify and solve current problems that your users are facing.

However, researching users just simply isn’t enough to determine whether your product will succeed. Are you sure you identified all your users' problems? Are you sure you solved all your users’ problems? Are you sure this is even what your users want?

User-testing challenges your “solutions” and enables you to pick up on any errors and pain points that might hinder the success of the overall product.

📱 What is user testing?

User testing is the process through which the design and functions of a website, app, product, or service are tested by real users who are asked to perform specific tasks in realistic conditions. At Root, these are the steps we follow when conducting user testing:

  • Outline the goal of the user test: Before we dive in, we sit together as a team and identify at a high-level what we want to better understand about our product. This is important to streamline the process and present a more organised experience for the users.
  • Create interactive designs: The product designer then designs mock-ups or feature prototypes to enable the user to navigate the entire user journey without requiring any development resources.
  • Set up the session with different tasks: Once the prototypes are ready, we identify the key features that we need to test to ensure our product performs optimally. We create a list of what we need to have tested and include it in our instructions to users. This helps us cover our bases and get the important things right.
  • Find suitable test users: To select whether our potential participants are suitable, we conduct user screening beforehand. “To screen” means filtering, sifting, or checking whether the participants are reliable, willing to participate and are aligned with the overall target audience of the product.
  • Test in-house first: Before we conduct user testing with the selected users outside of Root, we test our product and prototypes in-house with team members. This helps us catch any road bumps in how we’ve set up the user test. The feedback gathered internally will guarantee an optimal user test process.
  • User tests: In order to not influence the users’ feedback in any way, we ask neutral questions and conduct the tests in a place free from distraction. We find that it’s beneficial to record the sessions and have another team member in the room to take notes.
  • Analyse the results: After the test is complete, we go back to the recordings and notes taken during the session and unpack what happened. We draft a report of findings and insights based on the severity of the issues identified to enable the product team to implement the necessary design changes.

🧪 Why Root believes in user testing

At Root, we've found that actively involving real users is the best way to develop products that are actually useful. Products that solve users’ real problems. Here's how user testing helps us provide value to our customers and improve our business operations.

1. Creates awareness

User testing gives an inside look into the designs, the research and the general UX process for our clients and team members at Root.

Showing participants what the process looks like to get to the final result provides more insight into the product and its purpose, which increases interest and an eagerness to get involved.

2. Increases cross-collaboration and communication

Running user tests takes the veil off the design process and creates a culture of collaborative contribution instead of just broad critique when the product goes live.

Recently, Root conducted user tests for our Embed Self-Service Add-on where clear insights and communication increased the overall confidence in the product amongst Root team members, our clients and their end-users.

3. Happier customers

Ultimately, users need solutions to fix their everyday problems. By uncovering usability issues during a user test, the researcher and product team can get an inside-look into difficulties and frustrations, which helps us design for an optimal user experience. This also benefits the team down the line, as less product-design error tickets come in, allowing the support team to focus on other issues that might crop up.

4. Reduces development costs

Fixing errors can be costly, especially after a product has already launched. User testing has proven to be a useful way to help us save on developmental costs. We’ve found that adjusting a product to fit the customer needs after user testing takes up much less of our development resources, which is helpful when working against the clock or juggling multiple projects.

🚀 Summary

Here at Root, we know that it’s important to understand the real challenges your users are facing when developing a product instead of just launching it into the wild and hoping for the best.

Conducting both user research and user tests with real users benefits both the people who will be using your product and your team by creating awareness, encouraging cross-collaboration and communication, increasing customer satisfaction and saving on developmental costs.

Why not challenge yourself before you are challenged?

🎉 Want to take part in one of our user tests?

We’re on a mission to continuously improve the user experience of our products and we’d really value your input. Get in touch with us by completing this survey and we’ll get back to you when our next user tests kick off!


Miré de Swardt

Product Designer

Root is an end-to-end digital insurance platform that enables you to launch new products and digital engagement channels fast. We package all the compliance, regulatory and reporting complexities behind easy-to-use APIs, allowing your team to focus on building great customer experiences.

Are you interested in taking your insurance business to the next level today? Email us at [email protected] or get in touch here to hear more.

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