UX doesn’t have to be expensive. There are so many ways to find out what you need to know with out having to fork out big amounts of money.
1. The coffee shop.
Go down to your local coffee shop and talk to people. Take your prototype, a few good questions and a few dollars to buy people some coffees. Be confident, look professional and be well spoken about what you are doing. People will want to help out (mostly).
Quick note: you probably should ask the cafe owner if it’s cool to lurk around and talk to customers before your start hitting up people for feedback. There is nothing worse than being thrown out on the street with your long black for asking why people are scared to use credit cards online.
The coffee shop could be anything though. Jogging app? Goto a local park or sports center. Travel app. Airport adventure!!!
Take a handful of gift cards or a bag full of candy to give out to people who help you.
Hot tip: Keep it quick. People are usually busy and have things to do. 5 minutes max for a quick test and survey.
Second hot tip: Look the part. Wear a company branded shirt. Take a clip board to write stuff down.
2. Online survey.
Click that link. Make a survey. Share it with people.
Google forms is awesome. It’s got lots of options for different types of questions and answers. Share it around on Facebook, Twitter and what ever else you can. Ask your friends to pass it on to their friends as well. You will be surprised how many people will do a quick survey just because they want to help out.
Again, keep it short. Really consider what you want to learn from the survey and focus your questions to get the best results in the least amount of time.
3. Online testing resources.
There are so many awesome online testing resources. One of my favourites is https://usabilityhub.com/. They offer a stack of different tests you can perform for pretty cheap. A/B testing, 5 second tests, navigation and click tests. You can get some seriously great feed back by just throwing 50 bucks at it.
4. The Landing Page.
Another good trick is to buy yourself a URL for your product. I mean, you will need it sooner or later anyway, right? With that URL, throw up a landing page for your idea, no matter how half baked it is. Then use Google analytics and a sign up form to gauge interest in your concept. Tweak your ideas to see what gets the best responses. Put a little money on Google ads or Facebook ads to get some quick traffic to your site. And if the idea turns out to be a winner, you have already started to grow your audience! Win win!
You can get really quality feedback if you prepare yourself. Ask good questions, be confident and carry a pocketful of gift cards.
Consider your target audience and make an effort to get in contact with those people. You probably know some people relating to your idea, and if not, there is always community groups happening that you can probably tap into for some connections.
Spend a little money on the basics. Get a shirt printed, run a few tests on usabilityhub.com. Give out some gift cards. If you don’t any budget for research, then you should be moving some funds around. Not much point spending money on development if the idea is no good.
As Steve Blank says, “get out of the building”. Just go find people, talk to them, show them concepts, get the feedback, improve your product.
Most of all, be genuine. Be honest about what you are doing and why you need help to achieve it. People will respect that.
And as I mentioned in my previous post, respect the feedback, take it on board and design better apps with it.
by Alex Knight
UX / UI Designer, Tokyo, Japan.