User testing is a painful process. For the entrepreneur it means putting your baby out there for ridicule by strangers. If you’re a professional product manager it’s a little less personal but, at a minimum, it’s a great way to get completely demoralized by how much more work you still have to do. It’s worth it though, right? I don’t need to convince you, do I? OK, good.
The organization of user testing is the first big challenge. You have to find a stranger (usually) to try out your product. The good news is that tools like usertesting.com and fresheyes.co can help you find your victim. Here’s the rub though. In their haste to get started, too many people rush to check the checkbox by grabbing the first human that walks by. No, don’t do it! It seems too obvious to me, but I have to say it. The rule is to find the person that resembles your customer the closest. And not just any customer, the one that will understand what the feature is trying to do. The bus manufacturer doesn’t ask the bus passenger to test the steering wheel. Yes, the passenger uses the bus but I think you’ll get better feedback from the driver.