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UX Tip #21 Getting it right: Live in-person observation

Usability testing is one of most important aspects of user experience research. Inviting stakeholders to observe live testing sessions can increase credibility of the findings, gain buy-in, and build empathy towards the user. However with this comes the risk of over-generalisation. Have you ever come across a situation where your stakeholder only had time to watch one session and thought what they observed was applicable to the wider user group? To avoid this potential risk of over-generalisation, UX consultants should manage stakeholders expectations by walking through the purpose of usability testings, and letting them know upfront that feedback from participants need to be consolidated to generate useful insights. You could also stick images of the product being tested on the wall of the observation room and invite stakeholders and other observers to put their comments on it throughout the entire testing period. This helps identify the true trends and patterns, and prevents stakeholders from drawing premature conclusion from a partial sample.