Think-aloud testing is an effective and simple way to capture valuable usability feedback from audiences. Having users verbalize how they operate within a digital experience provides tremendous insight into how effectively it was designed. Here are 4 ways conducting regular think-aloud testing amongst your digital products will improve their UX:
They unearth usability issues
Think-aloud testing can identify usability issues that are often not apparent through other testing methods. By listening to participants' speak, you will better understand specific confusion or frustration they feel while engaging with the product. This more impactful context is very helpful in planning practical improvements to enhance a UX.
They build a stronger understanding of a user's thinking
Active listening is the key to better understanding in almost any practical situation. By executing TAT, you peer directly into an individual's thought process and decision-making. User behaviors captured via automated testing or analytics very effectively convey the 'what', but struggle to state the 'why'. Learning the 'why' in addition to the 'what' paints a more comprehensive picture of usability challenges.
They improve task completion rates
By observing users complete tasks in parallel with audibly communicating thinking, you get a clearer picture of true 'happy paths'. This allows you to more effectively remove obstacles that prevent users from completing tasks efficiently. Additionally, you get a better picture of what these obstacles really are. Are they design flaws, content misses, functional errors, or limitations? Listening to the user verbalize obstacles provides clarity regarding the specifics of a usability obstacle.
They boost user satisfaction
Think-aloud testing roots out pain points and frustration with great earnest. In addition to hearing specifically about friction points, you're positioned to ask direct questions about how to improve the experience. By executing a TAT protocol, you are elevating the Voice of the Customer (VoC) in a very tactile fashion. Listening to the VoC and implementing design changes based on their feedback is the clearest path to increasing user satisfaction.