How Critical Is UX Testing? Can Agile Help?
Very, and yes. As technology advances, so do customers' expectations, and incorporating Agile methodology can help ensure your UX remains up to par.
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The race to reach the market faster and to become a preferred choice for customers is putting tremendous pressure on enterprises across diverse business domains. Every brand is building up strategies to ensure better and much better customer experience. Considering the focus is on making a digital impact, every brand/service/product is striving to come up with appealing website designs and mobile-based applications.
Gartner states that "CX leaders must facilitate, help and empower those across the enterprise to understand key customer personas, map customer journeys, design and optimize interactions and deliver innovations."
Enterprises need a development and testing approach that is more flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the customers. Digital enterprises especially will need processes that are much more accommodating in nature. That's one of the key drivers for increasing adoption of the Agile testing approach.
Why Agile Fits Well For User Testing
The role of UX professionals is increasingly getting critical with a keen focus on user research, user testing budgets, and a strong inclination towards Agile methodology for project management and product development. Agile has been increasingly adopted to build workable prototypes rapidly and stay ready for any further changes.
In a way, this system works against the legacy waterfall software development method that is more sequential and non-iterative. With a sequential mode of development, it becomes difficult for enterprises to make the iterations that can change at any point.
A sprint-based development approach provides more opportunities to improvise the architecture for user experience and prioritizing it in the overall software development process. Agile UX process is being considered by organizations of all shapes and sizes, where the focus is on fast-paced user research, user testing, and usability studies. This enables better testing and redesigning to boost the Agile UX Testing process.
How Can Agile Boost UX Testing?
User Experience is a business critical component in the application development process. Every enterprise works towards building an application that is more appealing and more engaging for their prospective users. However, the requirements keep changing and that's the reason testers and developers need an approach that gives more scope for iterations.
As Gartner in one of its Webinar summaries states, "User experience (UX) design is an increasingly critical component of competitive strength. With the elevation of the UX discipline, what was once limited to web design now leads innovation in product development, customer strategy, and even business transformation. UX is has become a source of business advantage, as it's now on boardroom agendas and a conversation topic in the executive suite."
In the light of these requirements, let's look at how Agile can boost User Experience Testing and transform the application development process.
Enables Shorter Test Cycles More Frequently
More iterations are needed to create a better user experience. This means that the testing and development cycles need to be shorter and much more frequent. Agile methodology has come into existence to enable a sprint-based approach that boosts faster turnaround and updates.
Moreover, considering the fact that UX testing is mostly done at the end of the product development cycle, the feedback garnered is exploratory in nature. UX testing goes beyond a mere validation process. With Agile, it is possible to set up a UX test script in 5 minutes and receive an image-based response as well.
Gives More Opportunities for Experimentation
Today, applications cannot work in a static fashion; they need to stay dynamic and keep evolving. Experimentation is needed to ensure that the user experience keeps changing and improvising. This kind of scope is not possible in the traditional waterfall method. Agile provides the much-needed flexibility for testers to experiment and explore new modes for appealing the existing as well as prospective users.
Enables Perception of the Target Persona
Business agility is needed to ensure that the applications you develop meet the user research and expectations. Agile methodology gives you the scope and bandwidth to perceive the target user's persona. This is enabled by going back to the user research and feedback received and for making constant iterations. Maybe a full-scale view of user perceptions and preferences might not be possible, but Agile methodology definitely enables maximum visibility into the choice of the users. At the same time, it also enables teams to keep referring back to the business needs/objectives of the enterprise.
Enables Faster Feedback and More Innovation
Taking a cue from the point of experimentation, UX testing in an Agile mode makes the testing and development cycles shorter and faster. The feedback received is faster and can be incorporated effectively within the application. This gives wider scope for taking innovative steps to make the application much more trending, contemporary, and receptive for the end users.
UX testing is critical for every enterprise that plans to leverage the strengths of digital transformation. Agile is being considered for making the process more collaborative and open to experimentation. Yet, there is no definite way to get the best application in the market today. Everything depends on an organization's capabilities to gauge the market choices and translate them into opportunities.
Published at DZone with permission of Hiren Tanna, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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