When User Testing How Many Users Should You Test With?

When user testing how many users should you be testing with? We think that five users is the perfect amount for testing your digital product or service.

At Sidekick Digital, we run user testing on the final day of the Design Sprint.

Usability is critical to us, and while we understand the importance of in-depth research, the chance to have actual tests that check the solidity of the design, and how it works is crucial. There are a lot of businesses out there that don't take up the practice of usability testing for products, but we like to test your digital products carefully to ensure that they are precisely what you need.

For us, it's more important to validate the product we're building is heading in the right direction. We want to know that what we've designed in the Sprint is worth the time building.

We often hear from a lot of companies who don't want to user test. The reason a lot of companies shy away from usability testing is that they believe that they will be using more of their resources and expenses. Fortunately, it's not the case! Usability testing doesn't have to be expensive or take up too much time, even when things don't go well and can feel complicated.

Five Is The Magic Number For User Testing

The best results from digital product usability testing come from testing with five people at a time, and we're sure you're wondering why we only test with five people at a time, and we're going to explain it!

The user experience is a big deal to every company that is designing a product for use on the market, whether this is an app on a smartphone or a physical product for use off the shelf. UX designers have a huge task ahead of them to build an overall experience with very few flaws. Of course, imperfections do occur, but with the right user testing, they can be better avoided. One thing that we have learned, though, is that the more users you use for testing, the less you learn. And at Sidekick Digital, we prefer to learn a lot!

Too Many Cooks...

We've learned that three test users aren't enough to catch all of the problems that occur, and with twelve users, you'll waste time.

However, five still remains the magic number when it comes to user testing. You'll get the majority of the issues uncovered while keeping costs low and the process smooth and simple at the same time. So, let's look at our testing process:

  • Our tests take around half an hour per participant.
  • Some practices that are performed by specialists of user research are a little more complicated, such as Eyetracking and user panels, but we like the simple approach.
  • All of our users will be put in front of the prototype, either in person or remotely on the internet.
  • We'll watch our users and observe their reactions verbally and emotionally to the product. We'll see their pain points and ergonomic issues, too.
  • As part of the test, we'll ask them questions like whether they'd use the product, what they'd pay for it, etc, to get a solid look at what the user thinks and feels.

These tests with a small group of five users will uncover most bugs and issues in the experience, and it's more than enough for the MVP that we are building in the Sprint!

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