What are some good questions to ask in a single-screenshot usability test?

If you're following the "golden rules" of customer testing - test early, test often, test light - you'll invariably experience having one or two screenshots that you want to get feedback on. Heck, if you'veAdd paragraph t

never done any usability or customer testing, this is usually a great place to start. 

But what question (or questions) should you ask with a single screenshot to get great feedback?

Regardless of how you're testing, you have one simple, basic challenge: asking the right question in order to get the right feedback. You don't want to waste your time, or your participants', with questions that don't give you immediate insight into what works better, what's meaningful, or whether people are at all interested in what you're .

Why can't you just ask people, "what do you think of this?" In two words: Response Bias. Participants in most kinds of structured research can be influenced by any number of conscious and unconscious factors. Some people want to please you, some just don't want to hurt your feelings, and a few will outright try to be deceptive. To guard against this you can either:

  • Conduct a test with a large enough sample to cancel out these bias (50+ participants will do the trick).
  • Ask the right questions.

Which seems easier/faster/cheaper to you?

With that in mind, here are 5 questions you can ask people about a single screenshot of a website or an app to get their honest, unbiased and useful feedback:

  1. Click on the first thing you'd want to know more about. (You can ask in a follow up question what more the person would like to know about the element they chose.)
  2. What would you click on in order to [buy this product/subscribe to this newsletter/tell a friend about this site]? (Pick one or two of the actions you would most like people to take.)
  3. Click on something that seems completely out of place. (A follow-up question could ask, "what seemed out of place about that?")
  4. Click on any TWO places that you think might do the SAME thing. (This is especially useful when you have more than one element that performs the same function - such as two "Add to Cart" buttons.)
  5. Name 3 things that you remember from the screen you just saw. (Obviously you don't want to do this while the screen is still displayed' even better would be limit how long a participant gets to look at a screen before you take it away - 5 seconds or less works best.)

Ideally, these are questions you can ask of more than one design variant. Even better, they are lead-ins to questions that go deeper, or which ask your participant to explain or explore their decisions to you (either verbally or in written responses.)                                        

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