Silicon Valley is full of tech companies that are looking to release products which require user testing research. From apps, to software, to VR, there is no shortage of products that require user feedback. Companies that try to do this process internally often run into three main issues:
- Non user-specific feedback: If a company is relying on its internal employees (or friends) to test out the product, there is inherent bias baked in. First off, the internal teams know too much about the product to be objective. Secondly, they’re not likely the target audience. Relying solely on close circles to test products seriously limits the range of feedback that a broader testing base would provide.
- Recruiting: If a company tries to recruit users to test their products, they will have a hard time testing blindly since they’re recruiting from their company’s brand, email addresses, and locations. If they’re okay with not testing it blindly, very few companies have the resources to properly recruit, and they quickly realize, it’s a lot harder than it seems.
- Corporate myopia: If an internal team, typically marketing or product, is tasked with doing user testing, they’ll be looking at issues they’ve encountered internally and asking questions based on filters that they have arrived at from a corporate level. They don’t have the outside viewpoint required to look at the product from different angles and ask questions that they may not realize are crucial to user testing.
How to conduct user testing research in Silicon Valley
To get around these three issues, a company requiring user testing research needs to look into a firm that has experience testing technology. This is important, because a general market research firm likely doesn’t have the recruiting expertise or the ability to tackle complex tech subjects and ask the right questions. Moreover, many market research firms will do testing in traditional focus group facilities, with a one-way glass. This is a huge no-no for user testing; you don’t want participants to feel like they’re in a FBI interrogation. A better technique can be designed using mobile ethnographies, which allow a research company to track usage in everyday life, providing more realistic feedback. Make sure the firm also will do the interviews in a comfortable, casual space, such as a co-working spot. The goal is to put participants at ease so that they talk freely about their opinions.
If your company is embarking on user testing research, ask firms whether they have the following capabilities:
- Tech-industry user testing research: Ask the company for their list of clients. Have they worked specifically with tech-industry clients doing user research? Make sure they have case studies and referrals, specifically in user testing research.
- Recruiting hard-to-find audiences: Traditional market research firms rely on databases for recruiting. This means that they interview people who deliberately sign up to be in studies. Inherent in this model is selection bias. Work with a firm that finds people specific to a project – this is especially important when testing technology aimed for purposes outside of the mainstream.
- A local Silicon Valley firm: Finally, before embarking on your project, look for a local Silicon Valley firm that can handle user testing research. Having a partner that is in the mix of the latest trends is crucial – they’ll be seeing the latest trends and know how to design a study specific to launching a successful product that is backed by investment capital.
Interested in talking to a Silicon Valley firm that does user testing research?
InterQ is one of the only firms in Silicon Valley that specifically does user testing research for tech firms. From scrappy startups to major players like Google, we’ve covered the gamut of user testing, and we have the recruiting capabilities and expert moderators who can design projects aimed at giving firms the most realistic feedback possible.