One of the big issues with in person user testing is that people lie to you. Not in the sense that they want to hide something from you but rather that they don’t want to hurt your feelings. There are a lot of techniques to combat this; but I’d like to share with you one of my favorite questions that really allow your users to open up to you:
“Let’s pretend this is baseball. How would you rate our product on a scale of strike-out to home run? A strike-out means ‘I would never use this product ever’ and a home run means ‘The product is flawless, don’t change anything, just take my money’”.
[User Answers… it doesn’t really matter what they say. Most likely they are going to say double so you feel good, substitute whatever base is necessary below]
“Alright now let’s say we want to make this a triple instead of a double. Not going for a home run yet, we don’t want to get too greedy. What is the one thing you think we can do better to turn this product into a triple?”
At this point you’ve allowed the user to save your ego (even if you didn’t need it) and they can now open up to you about what is lacking. Don’t fall into the feature creep mode just from this single answer, but rather use it as a tool to get inside your customers brain. If they give you a answer like ‘I want feature X’ dig deeper with a simple “Why do you feel X?” question that turns things towards a more emotional based response.
More tips coming soon!