What Is Formative Usability Testing?
Formative testing focuses on finding and fixing problems in the user experience (UX) of software or applications that have already been released or are still in development.
It’s conducted with a formative usability evaluation, which asks end-users to identify where products or prototypes are working as intended and where they encounter problems with usability. These problems could range from broken links or confusing layouts to issues with text fonts or navigation formats.
Common formative usability testing methods include:
- Interviews. One-on-one interviews are ideal for gathering in-depth information about user experiences with your product or service, while allowing researchers to ask open-ended questions that help better quantify user preferences.
- Surveys. Surveys are a quick way to connect with multiple users and track trending concerns that require immediate attention.
- Usability tests. Usability tests provide the opportunity to observe how users interact with your product in the real world. Unlike surveys, which report what people say they will do in specific circumstances, usability tests let research teams discover what users actually do.
The biggest benefit of UX formative evaluations is the ability to gain feedback that can be implemented immediately. If users report that products in development aren’t working as intended, teams can remediate issues before development continues, in turn avoiding larger problems down the line.
Formative research also offers the benefit of short cycle times, meaning it can (and should) be conducted multiple times during the development cycle. This allows design and development teams to ensure they’re moving in the right direction when it comes to UX adjustments. For example, a fix made early in the prototype stage to fix navigation issues might cause other, interconnected problems down the line, but regular formative assessments help keep projects on track.
It’s critical to ensure that formative results are given directly to design and development teams so they can address specific user concerns and uncover emerging trends.
Why KLI for Formative UX Research?
With more than a decade of experience in UX and CX design, development, and research, KLI has earned a reputation for discovering and implementing dynamic solutions that deliver better-designed products and services.
We’re trusted by more than 130 of the world’s top organizations — including Amazon, Bose, Roku, and Google — but as a purpose-driven organization, we’re committed to bringing the same level of passion, expertise, and commitment to every client we serve, from SMBs to enterprises to multinational organizations. Our proven process ensures we deliver the high-quality outcomes you deserve.
Find what’s not working — and fix it faster — with formative research from KLI. Get in touch and find out what we can do for you.