Common Usability Testing Mistakes and How to Solve Them

To achieve the desired results in usability tests, ensuring minimal errors in the design stage will determine your success.

Gathering the right insights from the test is vital to making the right decisions.

However, recruiting the wrong participants and failing to conduct pilot tests are common mistakes to avoid.

Here are some mistakes associated with usability tests and how to solve them.

Recruiting Wrong Participants

Finding the right participants for a niche audience is challenging.

Failure to get the right audience may force the usability test to compromise during the screening phase.

Recruiting the wrong participants can be a time-wasting affair, and it might result in suboptimal data or lead the test in the wrong direction.

However, there are several online resources that guide you in recruiting participants for the usability test.

Visit this post for the basics of conducting a usability A/B test. The following strategies can be adopted in recruiting participants:

Guerrilla Testing

This is the easiest method to get participants. It consists of approaching an individual near you to participate in the test. You can rely on colleagues or people in the office.

Existing Users

If you have carried out usability tests before, your existing user base is a potential resource.

Since it’s not guaranteed that the existing users will participate, you need to seek permission first.  

Failure to Conduct Pilot Testing

A pilot test must accompany any usability test that requires detailed and specific instructions before handing it over to live participants.

The tests help in singling out factors like subtleties and wording issues.

The test will assist the tester in clarifying any unclear instructions, eliminating vagueness and unclear language. Pilot testing is essential when;

  • New to running usability tests
  • Running a remote, unmoderated test 
  • Running a quantitative test
  • Testing a high-visibility project

Focusing On Validating Ideas

This mistake centers around abandoning your objectives while conducting the usability test. Testers focus on testing their preferences.

Remember that the goal of usability tests is to evaluate how people engage with your product, and concentrating on your ambitions rules out the goal of the tests.

The goal is to remain neutral and maintain an open attitude and enable data to do the speaking. You can do the analysis and design a group operation when you get the results. Sticking to your objectives might give you more insights. 

Failure to Set Clear Goals

Usability tests aim to understand the needs of a specific user to understand their problems.

Although various usability testing strategies are available online, one might miss out on determining the right objectives.

With improper goals, the results will not be helpful in the long run. While setting up objectives, remember that testing is a purposeful initiative to validate your team’s assumptions.

Not Conducting Subsequent Tests

Most marketers usually believe conducting usability tests is a one-off activity.

However, the tests should be an ongoing activity with a regular schedule for gathering additional insights.

After gathering insights and making changes, you need to carry out another test since it is helpful to spot the following areas of focus.

In general, an ongoing usability test process should be repeated after significant changes to get greater insight.


Mistakes in usability testing cut across. They not only affect beginners but also experienced testers can make mistakes. However, focusing on basics like setting the right goals and conducting pilot tests will play a key role in getting the desired results.