Editor’s Note: Matt Rogers is the founder of Aroxo, a novel retail and exchange website based in London. Matt has been chronicling his founder’s experience, and sharing the lessons learned with Found|READ. Earlier posts include How to bootstrap Your Startup and Getting to Launch. His latest installment is about site testing, and how best to “iron out the kinks” prior to launch. Aroxo is almost ready…
Aroxo recently turned a major corner in its development: We moved from closed functional testing to using real live alpha testers — people who’d never seen Aroxo before. Without doubt, this is one of the most revealing, painful, and valuable stages in creating your start-up.
When launching anything you want to ensure that it works, but also that people find it easy and natural to use. Your [internal] functional testing should cover the first objective, your [open] alpha testing should cover the UI.
We employed four different tests to get Aroxo’s system ready for launch, each at a different stage:
1) Over-the-shoulder. To determine the sticking points; where the system confuses users.
2) Task-driven testing. To determine how well the system stands up on its own.
3) Goal-driven testing. Once you know your site is slick and functional, this is for discovering end-to-end flaws.
4) Beta testing. To test site’s marketing points and highlight future development opportunities. It comes at the very end.
Not only is each test different, but you get different learnings from it. I discuss each testing stage below.