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The Mom Test
Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:15 AM
Posted 08 May 2009 - 07:23 AM
Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:00 AM
And never, ever, should the programer, coder, web designer, be the person to do the testing.
It's so easy to miss bugs or simple usability issues when you already know how things should work, want them to work and where everything is!
Even simple form validation can bite you in the ass if you don't get a range of people to test your form and even deliberatly try and break it.
You coded it to only allow numbers in the phone field, are you sure that code is working? did you try and put hyphens, strange characters?
I'm sure a complete stranger will come along, do something really stupid you never even thought of and break your code in seconds...
Remember the first thing they tell you when you learned to drive -> think everyone else on the road is an idiot!
The same principles apply when coding any application or system or website, i'm not saying everyone who visits your site is stupid, but you need people to test it as if they were!
Which begs the question, does Jennifer Laycock think mum's are stupid?
Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:31 AM
Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:43 AM
'The Cat Test', yeah I like it's better than 'The Mum Test', plus Cats usually have more time on their hands than mum's do!
Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:34 AM
FTR, my mom is naturally biased. As I suspect many are towards their children, no matter how much you tell them you want the cold, hard truth. So I've already stretched things out a bit. People have laughed for years at the fact that I've used Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends of the family as my little testing group.
I do it a bit differently than what Jennifer laid out in that my first test is more a "Would you buy this if you needed it, and how much would you pay?" market research kind of thing before I ever get into development; Followed by a few different layout color variations in a basic design to see which folks who best match my target market like best; Followed by Jennifer's "Do this" type of usability test to make sure things work before opening the doors.
Maybe my relatives and friends are weird, but they genuinely enjoy doing it for me. Heck, in years past when not everyone had a computer or 'Net connectivity I used to get emails from far flung relatives out of the blue asking to be added to the tester roles because they'd just gotten a computer and had heard about my little group!
Part of the fascination may be that they get to peek in on what I'm going to be up to in the next year, so there's the whole reality tv voyeuristic thing going on. But beyond this they all always seem to keep tabs after things get launched by revisiting the sites as they go into development, get opened and go through initial changes. They definitely always ask how well each site is doing at the next family reunion or the next time they see me in Wal-mart. It's gotten to the point that I keep a list of who reviewed what on each site and keep them in the loop at the 1, 2 and 3 year marks via email. And take printouts to family reunions for reference when people ask. Hearing how things are going, whether it's as good as I hoped or not, keeps them interested in helping more in the future.
It's a great, totally free resource almost nobody uses. And I do truly appreciate their involvement. Though I don't stop there by any stretch of the imagination.
As a little side note, I now have (at last count) 15 extended family members who now either supplement or earn their entire income from web-based business. And contrary to what I would have thought, most are not younger folks. Of those 15 only two are around my age or younger. Most of them are earning an income after retiring.
They've all thanked me in one way or another for exposing them to how this stuff works and have all run their ideas for sites through our little group for pre-approval. Most of 'em didn't want to ask themselves (it's the whole People will think I'm crazy syndrome) so I've helped 'em get the ball rolling on their first site with some basic help/advice and sent out the testing group email as if it was going to be one of my sites. It makes for fun when people start asking me at family reunions how one of those is going and I tell 'em: Go ask Uncle Glen. That's his baby.
Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:41 AM
Uncle Randy, he's my hero , it must be hard for the rest of the family to keep up with such an entrepreneur in the family, or do they like to tax you for money?
Posted 08 May 2009 - 10:58 AM
I doubt it -- I've met Jennifer's mum, and she's one really sharp cookie.
Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:00 AM
I'd much rather spend a couple dozen hours helping 'em start their own business than spend several hundred hours worrying about whether I should have given 'em some moolah.
Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:04 AM
It's better to teach a man to fish, than to give him a fish
Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:11 PM
Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:12 PM
Simple.... Take one keyboard, one tin of tuna, one cat and a small enclosed room.
Put them all together, you'll get hours of free testing and a clean keyboard
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