How to make your SaaS product profitable with user testing

All successful products and businesses have one thing in common: They leverage information about their target audience to provide the precise service they need and in the way they need it.
Benjamin Perko
6 minutes
User testing software is a busy space, just like Shibuya crossing in Tokyo

Every product is built with a user in mind. 

Sometimes, the product idea comes from a challenge you (the founder) have encountered. At other times, the idea builds on an already existing service. But regardless of the source, every product has a target audience, and it can only become a successful product when people actually use it and have a good experience.

In the recent past, most SaaS companies overlooked the importance of having a good user experience, relying solely on the product value to drive market success. 

The result? 

SaaS applications have had one of the highest turnover rates in the industry, with the average mid-sized company changing 39% of their SaaS apps yearly.

And if that’s not enough, statistics also show that SaaS companies face at least nine (9) competitors on average. So if your product is to be profitable, you’d need more than just the product’s value - You’d need to prioritize your users.

User testing helps you prioritize your users.

All successful products and businesses have one thing in common: They leverage information about their target audience to provide the precise service they need and in the way they need it.

And to do this, you need to have a clear idea of who your users are, their motivations, challenges, goals, and how they interact with your product.

After all, a design for everyone is a design for no one.

So, what’s user testing?

User testing is a widely used technique to evaluate how users interact with a product. It helps the UX Researcher or other members of the design team collect quantitative and qualitative data on the representative users as they complete tasks within the product.

That is, it acts as a bridge into your users’ minds. With user testing, you get to see how your users use the product in their natural environment and know what they think of it at different stages in its development cycle. 

Since user testing is a continuous process, it is well suited to the agile nature of SaaS companies, where iterations are constant.

Why exactly do SaaS companies need user testing?

While building the product, you become familiar with it, and over time, you’d tend not to notice the hiccups in it. That’s why user testing is important for your SaaS product because it provides a fresh perspective and removes your biased assumptions about its usability. 

Also, with user testing, you get key insights that help the design team improve the user experience of the SaaS product. It is significant since 88% of customers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

And because SaaS products are inherently complex, if users can’t easily find their way around the product, they will abandon it.

How to conduct user testing for your SaaS

There are many ways to carry out user tests, and each method depends on your objective and the type of information you need.

Surveys

Surveys are perhaps one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get to know your users. They are questionnaires designed to get bulk information about your users like their demography, habits, opinions about a product, and so on. 

The quality of the information you get from surveys is only as good as the survey itself.

Some best practices for the survey are:

  1. Avoid bias. That is, don’t ask leading questions that influence users’ responses.
  2. Use clear and plain words to avoid confusion or misinterpretation. 
  3. Be specific. Ask about one thing at a time.
  4. Use open-field responses. 
  5. Keep the questionnaire short.

Moderated user tests

These are tests run in the presence of moderators. They are conducted across different points in the product design process ranging from low-fidelity prototyping to high-fidelity prototyping. 

To conduct it, moderators assign tasks to the participants and observe them as they use the product. They also interact with participants to know what they are thinking every step of the way. 

Moderated tests are in three phases: 

  1. The pre-session questions. Here, relevant information about the users is collected.
  2. The tasks that users’ carry out in the product. They replicate actual actions users would perform in real life, like creating an account or signing out.
  3. Post-session questions where users share their opinions and thoughts about the experience.

Unmoderated user tests

These tests are carried out without an active moderator. Participants use the product in the comfort of their own environment and complete the provided tasks at their own time. It is preferred when collecting quantitative information on your users. 

With many testing tools available, it’s easier and cheaper to run unmoderated user tests. However, the quality of your instructions is vital since they can’t reach out to you for guidance. So it’s best practice to write your questions, tasks, and scenarios clearly before sending them out to participants.

It’s also best to include follow-up questions after the tasks and recruit many participants because not everyone will agree to participate in the tests.

A/B tests

A/B tests, otherwise known as split tests, compare alternative variations of the same product screen and discover which one performs better. 

There are two ways to conduct this test:

  1. Participants choose between two or three versions of a product page.
  2. Participants are split into two groups and access different versions of the same product page.  

In both cases, responses will be documented and analyzed to determine the better version. A/B tests help maximize the product’s user experience before its launch.

Card Sorting

This user testing method gives the product team insights into how users understand and categorize information on a page. The moderators ask participants to organize topics into categories in a way that makes sense to them. They may also label them depending on the chosen card sorting technique.

Card sorting may use paper, cards, or online card-sorting tools to perform the tests.

Test your actual users

User testing is only potent when performed on your actual users. Unfortunately, many professional testers sign up as participants even though most are often not representative of the target audience. Fortunately, there are user testing tools to help you recruit actual customers for the user tests.

Run remote user testing sessions with your customers

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