Take your UX testing to the hallways

One of the first steps you can take in UX testing is – into the hallway!
Hallway testing is a quick way to gather general feedback about your app’s UX from random passersby in the hallway and identify any potential major issues your UX is facing, but you may not be aware of when creating your mobile app.

Plan your tests

As easy as it sounds, hallway testing should be structured and planned, just like the whole UX testing process. It should also be done as soon as possible, to identify major issues and avoid them creeping into the further development process.

Just like in focus group testing, hallway tests should be done on a maximum of 5 people. Only 5 users will identify approximately 85% of all major issues according to Jakob Nielsen’s report. To optimize the process further, try to be somewhat selective in picking the respondents and have them represent your users that would actually use the mobile app.

Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users

Location, location, location!

Funny as it may sound, the next important thing to consider is choosing the right hallway. Ideally, the hallway should be quite busy so to have a choice of more respondents. Also, target hallways in different departments or where other teams pass through to assure as much objectivity as you can.

Generally, team members like project designers and engineers close to the project should be consciously avoided in hallway tests, since they already know the product too well (typical users of your app won’t share their insight).

Hallway tests are a quick and easy way to gather qualitative feedback but they shouldn’t be improvised by any means. Plan ahead what questions you will ask the participants. Also, plan to go through all the questions and answers within about 5 minutes and never more than 10 minutes.

Structure the results into a report

The results of hallway testing should be applied to the development process, but before you can do this you should structure all the feedback into key conclusions and decisions that will be applied to the design process.

Hitting the hallways again after the changes are applied is a good idea to test the UX and progress and did the changes really address the major identified issues.

Testing fast, testing as soon as possible and testing easily are the benefits of hallway testing and more than reason enough for you to get up from your desk right now and walk around the office.

It is good both for you and your UX project.

P.S.: Aside from the above-mentioned Nielsen’s article, another great resource on the user testing is DigitalGov.