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What is UI/UX Testing? Exploring This Critical Function of Digital Design

What is ui ux testing

An old saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” The phrase means that the value of something you created can only be determined by actual results and experience, not intentions or ideas. Now, let’s move from pudding to software applications. Since we can’t eat software (at least, hopefully not!), we need to rely on UI/UX testing.

This article explores the concept of UX and UI testing. We’ll define the terms, highlight the different types, explain their importance, show the differences between both processes and discuss their benefits and tools. We’ll also share an online UI/UX design program professionals can take to master top tools.

But before we get into the heart of UI UX testing, let’s define the terms.

What Is UI/UX Testing?

UI/UX testing tests a website’s or software application’s user interfaces and user experiences, helping app developers identify potential issues with the software and ensuring that users have a positive experience when they use the application.

UI/UX testing verifies the user interface (UI) functionalities and monitors the user experience (UX). The process aids in exploring critical bugs that can quickly escalate and may hinder the website or application’s basic operation performance.

Although we’re lumping the UI and UX terms into a single phrase, we need to examine each component separately to understand better how they work and interact. We start with user interface testing.

Also Read: How to Design a User-Friendly Interface?

Breaking Down UI Testing

User interface (UI) testing ensures that all fields, labels, buttons, and other items on the screen work as designed. UI testing involves checking screens with controls, such as buttons, colors, fonts, toolbars, sizes, buttons, icons, etc., and how they respond to user input. With the aid of UI testing software, developers can see how the application, website, or software will interact with the end-user.

The UI tester should have the answers to these two questions:

  1. Are all the features of the tested software, applications, or websites straightforward and easy to use?
  2. Can users navigate through the app without encountering malfunctions or system errors?

UI testing uses the following criteria to determine how the product performs for users:

  • Accessibility
  • Compatibility
  • Consistency and logic
  • Ease of use

Here’s a typical checklist of UI testers’ actions when running tests.

  • Colors, hues, tints
  • Confirmation of actions (e.g., save, change, delete)
  • Data type errors
  • Drop-down lists and menus
  • Error messages
  • Field width
  • Icon styles
  • On-screen instructions
  • Progress indicators
  • Required fields
  • Shortcuts
  • Type and font sizes
  • Visual inconsistencies

On to UX testing.

Breaking Down UX Testing

User experience (UX) testing involves testing different aspects of the user’s experience, determining the optimal way for the project and its elements to interact with its intended audience. That’s why real humans need to test the components, although there is always room for automation testing.

UX testers use the following criteria to determine how real users interact with the product and if the website, software, or application design can increase user satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Navigation around the website or software application must be simple
  • The user must have access to all necessary product information
  • The product must feature an effortless order placement process
  • The website or app’s performance must meet user requirements

Here’s a typical checklist that UX testers employ when running their tests.

  • Buttons and CTAs (Calls to action), including their sizes, colors, and clickability
  • Carousels
  • Footers
  • Forms, including their content, size, friendliness, and understandability
  • Headers
  • Links, including their colors, clickability and redirects
  • How the content is formatted
  • Messages, including error messages or information and their colors, clarity, and compliance
  • Mobile version, if applicable, and if it can be viewed in landscape and portrait modes
  • Navigation throughout the site, as well as through sub-modules that contain multiple pages
  • Additional miscellaneous elements, such as the Back to Top or Help buttons

Also Read: A Guide to Improving and Measuring User Experience

Why Is UI/UX Testing Necessary?

There are five primary reasons UI and UX testing are vital to the development process.

  1. It sparks business growth. The more extended customers stay on a business’s website, the more likely they’ll purchase something. Interested potential customers not only provide business growth themselves but also via word of mouth, one of the most effective means of advertising. UI/UX plays a vital part in keeping the user engaged. Nearly 40% of people only use an application if the layout is engaging and attractive. Losing so many potential customers, especially realizing that such a result was avoidable, jeopardizes revenue and business growth.
  2. It creates a strong competitive advantage. When a company presents a badly designed website with poor user experience, it not only loses potential business; it drives those would-be customers to the competition, which is anathema to any business that wants to thrive. Even worse, those users may become loyal customers of the competition, making it even more difficult to lure them back. UI/UX testing helps ensure the business provides an excellent user experience.
  3. It ensures a high-quality application. Adopting UI/UX testing from the start of the development cycle enhances the website or application by keeping all its issues in check and preventing excessive debugging and time spent correcting mistakes. A business that skips UI/UX tests will find that UI/UX bugs escalate to high priority, disrupting the software or website’s functionalities. These bugs can spread into regression or automated tests, delaying the release.
  4. It’s cost-efficient. The more time a business invests in debugging and correcting UI/UX bugs, the more resources and funds must be allocated. And the more money spent on these measures, the less money will be available for other high-priority things related to the release. These costs can snowball, disrupting production schedules and delaying releases, which results in further revenue loss. It’s a self-perpetuating downward spiral.
  5. It results in higher user satisfaction. An application that offers customers a good user experience lingers with the user and increases user satisfaction. This satisfaction goes a long way in the commercial world, resulting in customer loyalty, repeat business, and positive word of mouth. These benefits manifest themselves through business growth and increased generated revenue.

What Are the Differences Between UX and UI Testing?

UI testing is a subset of UX testing. The user experience (UX) involves all interactions with the product, including features such as ease of ordering, maintenance and customer support, and the overall feel of the product. The user interface (UI) includes all elements that the user interacts with, hence the clever name. However, UI is under the UX umbrella since the user interface is part of the product’s experience.

Consequently, UI testing tests the visual elements of the product, including web pages, dashboards, graphics, and layouts. UX testing deals with the overall functionality and user experience of the product, putting the tester in the potential customer’s shoes and looking at things from the user’s perspective.

So, UI testing shows whether the product functions correctly, while UX testing measures how enjoyable it is to use.

What Are the Types of UI/UX Testing?

There are two primary UI and UX testing types: manual and automated.

  1. Manual testing. One cannot use a software testing utility to quantify intangible terms such as “convenience” or “enjoyment.” You need the human perspective. Manual testing involves the tester putting themselves in the customer’s place, adopting their perspective, and assuming their role. Consider a product like a computer game. The coding may be perfect and bug-free, but is it easy to learn, fun to play, and convenient to use?
  2. Automated testing. The strength of automated testing lies in its efficiency. A tester can use a wide range of automated testing tools to ensure that multiple components of the website or app are working correctly and run these tests simultaneously. Automated testing is the perfect solution to repetitive testing functions, allowing developers to focus on fine-tuning the product instead of manually hunting for glitches in the code.

How To Run UI/UX Tests Effectively

Now that we know why UI/UX testing is so important, the next question is, “Well, how do you run these tests, then?” That’s a Good question. Here are the steps for effectively running any UI/UX test.

  1. Identify the areas you want to focus the testing on. In many cases, UI and UX design testing doesn’t need the team to test the entire software or website. A UI or UX testing round often covers just one or a few elements vital to the product’s success. Thus, the first step is for the testing team to understand clearly what they will test. Analyze every product or service element and identify where testing is required.
  2. Establish your goals. What is your end game? What do you hope to achieve by testing the components in question?
  3. Plan the tests and conduct them. Use checklists or similar techniques to plan your testing process. The QA team must take their time to prepare for the actual testing. It will save time and resources in the long run. Then, when all preparations are made, the team runs the tests, working according to the established plan and documenting the results.
  4. Analyze the findings and make any changes. The last stage of testing UX and UI involves collecting the results, evaluating their effect on the overall solution, and working with the development team and other project stakeholders to resolve the issues, further increasing the product’s quality and user appeal.

Also Read: UI/UX Designer Salary: What Can You Expect in 2024?

UI UX Testing Tools

Fortunately for testers, plenty of tools are available to make the entire testing process smoother and easier. Here is a sample of popular UI/UX testing tools.

  • AutoIT. AutoIT is a freeware scripting language designed to automate Windows GUI and general scripting. It uses a mix of simulated mouse movements, keystrokes, and window/control manipulation to automate tasks in a way not possible with other languages.
  • BrowserShots. This web service makes creating screenshots of a website rendered in different operating systems or browsers easy.
  • Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg is a heat map service that helps testers understand how visitors interact with a website.
  • GTmetrix. This tool generates a final report for the pages and offers different recommendations for resolving issues.
  • Optimizely. Optimizely lets developers define the conditions under which income grows and registration, downloads, and content increase.
  • Sahi. Sahi is a high Return on Investment (ROI) test automation tool designed for desktop, mobile, and web applications.
  • Selenium. Selenium uses programming scripts and various partial codeless techniques to conduct UI/UX testing. It features a robust, time-tested IDE and is supported by all major programming languages.
  • TestComplete. TestComplete creates and automates many software test types.
  • Testim. Testim focuses on UI testing with artificial intelligence technology. Testim allows very fast test authoring that uses a defined flow to visualize the execution steps. The AI part of Testim facilitates test case development by taking charge of repetitive steps and applying predictive knowledge to represent collected data.
  • Testomato. Testomato is a website monitoring service that checks website functionality in real time and alerts the team when something goes wrong.
  • Testsigma. Testsigma is a robust cloud-based test automation platform allowing QA teams to automate tests for desktop apps, web, mobile, and APIs quickly.
  • UserTesting. UserTesting collaborates with actual testers worldwide and asks them to test for experience, interface, usability, and more. Testers provide feedback based on their hands-on and technical experiences.
  • UXPunk. UXPunk is often used to ascertain a website’s content’s optimal hierarchy and the essential pages that should be visible on the site.
  • Watir. Watir stands for Web Application Testing in Ruby. It is an open-source tool designed for automated web application testing. It mimics user behavior when interacting with a web app.
  • Zurb. Zurb helps testers understand whether users like the web design and what visitors remember after interacting with the site.

Also, QA teams can conduct limited UI testing with browser extensions such as ColorZilla, Visbug, Page Ruler, What font, or Web Developer.

Do You Want to Develop UI/UX Skills?

If you are interested in becoming a UI/UX designer or are already in that career and want to upskill, consider this intense, 20-week UI/UX design bootcamp. You will learn how to use top design tools such as Balsamiq, Figma, Invision, Sketch, and Mural and create your Dribble portfolio.

Glassdoor.com reports that UI/UX designers earn an average annual.

Glassdoor.com reports that UI/UX designers earn an average annual salary of $87,248. Check out this bootcamp and get those UI/UX skills sharpened to meet the design challenges of today’s digital marketplace.

You might also like to read:

How to Become a UI UX Designer: A Comprehensive Guide

UI UX Designer Career Path: A Comprehensive Guide

All About UI UX Design Principles

Accessibility in UX Design: A Definitive Guide

Career Prep: Linux Interview Questions for UI/UX Design Professionals

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