When it comes to testing, a script is a plan that one follows to ensure all tasks are completed successfully and consistently, leaving the contributor with plenty of opportunities to provide feedback. For you to stay organized and strategic, a script should be made for various types of tests, from usability and moderated tests to benchmark studies.
What are the best practices for scripts?
- While interview questions and overall flow don't have to be 100% consistent, make sure that everyone who's conducting interviews is framing and phrasing the questions in the same way. They should plan to stick closely to the script to ensure everyone is hearing the same question and answering the questions in a similar order. Controlling the conversation helps you to collect the answers you need from enough people to spot themes and ensure that you cover the key points you need insights about.
- Do your homework before you write your scripts. Collect behavioral (analytics) or attitudinal (survey) data. Question it. Talk to stakeholders about what they know already and what they'd like to know. Plan what the final deliverable will look like and ensure that there's a question that will help you to populate each one of the areas you'd like to know more about in the interview script. And, finally, enjoy the conversations.
- Once you’ve got a script, it’s important to keep it as consistent as possible. Any shifts in the tasks or questions can compromise data and make it more difficult to compare results across different rounds of testing, so try not to tinker with it!
Why are pilot tests important for script development?
UserTesting's Research Team has learned that one of the key ingredients of a great study is performing a pilot test. In a pilot test, just one contributor goes through the test plan, and then the team watches the video noting any possible challenges the contributor encountered or ways the script could be improved.
Quickly reviewing a dry run video can warn you of any areas where your script needs to provide a little bit more direction. Often, just an extra sentence or a well-placed URL can be the difference between successfully testing the product and completely missing the mark.
As with any conversation, the discussion should be organic and take its own shape. However, it’s still helpful to have a general script of what you’d like to say outlined and available, including critical questions you must ask. Having your questions and a general idea of what you’d like to say handy will keep you and your user on track.
Pro tip: Use your script as the framework for taking notes during each interview. And remember, interviews help you to have a-ha moments that can help turn your experience from good to great.