Typically the user testing of an existing digital service is used to identify the problems in the current user experience and inspire the redesign of certain pages, flows or features. This process can take some time, and we have to admit that certain criticalities can already be identified with an expert review or heuristic analysis upfront. How can we make sure to optimize time and energy, and tackle both user and expert reviews at once?
Without waiting for the user test to discover more about existing issues, the expert can already to begin to analyse the existing website in depth and identify the most critical aspects. They can also get a head start by hypothesising how to solve those issues, building and prototyping alternative solutions and getting ready to show those alternatives to the users. The test can be conducted as a normal user testing, and then show the alternative flows with the new design to see if it's solving the issues that emerged during the testing. This strategy turns the test into a sort of A/B Testing, relying on the existing website to map the user experience and pain points, and on the alternative mock-ups to check whether each issue has been solved or not.
The advantage for the team is to leave the testing with both a list of required fixes and needs, as well as an initial validation of a prototype that is already addressing some of the issues, and would only require a simple iteration to be ready for implementation.
Quick A/B Testing could be explored as a simple way to engage users during design sprints, and to help with defining both macro and micro interactions.
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