What is a short test?

Make informed decisions quickly with this usability test
Young man using mobile phone sitting at desk with laptop

Regardless of industry, there’s one vital aspect of all business that will never go away: Decision-making. The speed at which your team can make accurate decisions has a massive influence on your long-term success.

The path to making those decisions isn’t always clear. Traffic, page activity, and conversion rates only tell part of the story. It’s not enough to see what users are doing, you have to also understand why. 

At the bottom of every good decision, there needs to be a strong foundation of human insight. But creating tests, finding participants, and analyzing hours of user feedback can feel like an overwhelming task, especially for simple questions that need quick validation. 

Short tests are a quick and easy solution to achieve this goal.

What is a short usability test?

Short tests are just what they sound like. They’re short usability tests that help teams gather focused feedback from up to 100 participants at a time. This powerful test allows you to create a simple test plan with around five questions and quickly filter your audience for the feedback you need. Each short test produces a five-minute video of the participant’s responses so that teams have a packaged set of data to analyze.

The built-in, five-minute time limit creates helpful guardrails that keep researchers and test participants focused on only the most important questions that will inform a decision. Although test makers have the option to add more questions, we recommend limiting short tests’ question count to five so that participants don’t feel rushed. 

When to use short tests

Short tests have a different scope than traditional usability tests. While standard usability tests focus on gathering multiple insights to paint a larger picture of the overall user experience, short tests are more useful in validating a hypothesis or verifying usability quickly. 

We typically see short tests used in the following situations:

UserTesting customers have access to short test templates within the platform. If you’d like to learn more about some of these templates, you can view some examples in our template gallery.

Templates are especially useful for teams that are new to usability testing because they provide a springboard for ideas rather than a blank slate. All of our templates are based on best practices so that teams can have the assurance of proven experience as a starting point. 

Actionable insight shouldn’t be a tall order

Sometimes, it doesn’t occur to teams that certain challenges they’re facing could be solved quickly by simply gathering feedback on the question at hand. Simplified, quick usability tests lower the barrier to entry and make this valuable insight more accessible for teams across an organization.

By making usability testing faster and easier, teams will find more frequent opportunities to incorporate short usability tests into their decision-making process. Short tests can help leaders keep human insight at the center of what they do by challenging assumptions and gaining clarity into everyday questions and problems.

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