So you want to improve your website. Is it better to outsource your user testing or do it yourself?

Types Of DIY User Testing

There are different ways to go about user testing, and each method lends itself better to solving different problems. If you know what aspect of your website you want to test, you’re halfway to figuring out how to test your users.

Mindset

Discovering the mindset of your users is best done at the beginning. Whether you’re developing your website for the first time or finishing up a major overhaul, it’s important to take stock of the mindset of your users when they visit for the first time. Establish who your audience is, why they visit, and why they stay and convert (or why they don’t.)

You can accomplish this by creating a user persona or sending out user surveys.

User Experience

So now you have users coming to you and staying around. You want to make sure the website is easy enough to navigate and do everything you want it to do. This goes hand in hand with your user mindset, because if your site isn’t intuitive or easy to navigate, users are less likely to stick around and convert. Be sure you’re including important elements to your site that users will look for.

A/B testing and  are good ways to test for a good user experience.

Optimization

You now have an engaged audience and plenty of conversions. You want to make sure it stays that way. Optimization tests should be done on an ongoing basis to make sure your website keeps running as it should or it if could run better. The internet isn’t a static environment, and there will always be ways to update and improve aspects of your site. Not to mention ever-changing design trends!

Test your website pain points with feedback surveys, A/B testing, or advanced analytics.


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What Does User Testing Cost?

The final cost of user testing is a moving target, depending on a wide variety of factors like the scope of your project and the experience of your testers.

DIY user testing costs can be as low as $0. Going the outsourcing route with one-off tests, paid accounts, all the way up to hiring a firm raise your costs up to $2K or more.

Generally speaking, the more money you spend on UX testing, the less time you’ll spend on the problem. Find out what balance works for you.

What Questions To Ask UX Design Or User Testing Firm

Before you hire a design firm, you’ll want to make sure they’re on the same page as you regarding a UX strategy. You also want to be sure your needs are communicated effectively. Here are a few questions to ask your potential designers:

  • What’s your experience with user testing? What about user testing for nonprofits?
  • What tests would you run in this situation? How would you find participants?
  • What will the final cost be? What will my responsibilities be as you test?

DIY User Testing

Con: Many of the cons boil down to a lack of experience in UX testing. An inexperienced tester may not be familiar with best practices, how to ask important questions, or when to take participant feedback literally (or not.)

Pro: Even if you don’t know the ins and outs of UX like a pro, you know your user base. This insight gives you an advantage when it comes to connecting with participants.

Pros Of UX Design Firm

Hiring the right UX design firm gives you the benefit of their expertise and time saved. You can then direct that energy to your organization’s mission – the whole reason why you got started.

When To DIY Vs When To Hire

Well-established organizations with a history in their niche may already have an idea of what direction to go with UX testing. If you’re in this category, you may opt to go the DIY route by carving out a few workshops or hiring your own internal UX team.

On the flip side, organizations that don’t anticipate putting a lot of time into UX testing may benefit from outsourcing. Hiring a firm can also be helpful you’re a newer organization with a small presence, and inexperienced with UX testing.



Further reading and resources:

  1. Create a DIY Nonprofit Persona with this Template
  2. 8 Most Important Elements Every Nonprofit Website Should Include
  3. DIY User Testing: Paper Prototype