User Testing Tips: Write Strong Tasks

user testing

User testing is an important part of implementing a digital marketing strategy, but it’s often the first thing to fall by the wayside when you’re crunched for time. If you’ve been scouring the web for user testing tips to help you quickly and easily implement effective tests, search no more. Here are 5 tips we captured during testing “guru” Kara Pernice's session at the recent Nielsen Norman Group conference. 

Whether this is your first time crafting a test or you’re already an expert, these simple suggestions can help make the task-writing process a little bit easier. 


  1. Define your top 10 tasks as a team, and infuse at least one of these into each iteration of testing.
  2. Ask yourself "What will this task help me understand?" Make sure your questions will help you achieve your goal:
    • Discoverability - Can the tester figure out how to complete a task without any hints?
    • Findability - If you tell the tester that something exists, can they easily find it?
    • Usability - How user-friendly is the task? 
    • Usefulness - What value does the task provide to the tester? 
  3. If possible, give a broader task rather than a direct task (i.e. find a product you're interested in vs. find Sony TVs). This will give you insight into the true browsing experience. Have half-step questions prepared to help users along the way if needed.
  4. Don’t' be a robot. Write like you're talking to a friend. No one says, "Go. Find an academic program." Instead, use natural language, such as, "Explore a major you might be interested in."
  5. Prioritize your tasks by order of importance. 

In our next installment, we’ll give you tips on how to facilitate an effective user test. Stay tuned!

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