During the UX design process, understanding, collecting, and sorting data and feedback are some of the most vital tasks. To be more exact, it’s becoming a trending UX skill. Usability testing shows you if your target users will use your product or not. As well, the UX design process includes the whole process of developing, owning, and even fixing the UX design and user interface. However, the UX design process doesn’t just focus on creating innovative products but also works on other aspects of the UX, like efficiency, accessibility, and functionality! Therefore, this means that usability testing should be a priority throughout the process.If you’re searching for how to prioritize usability testing in UX research, you’re here at the right place! This article will help you with 3 prioritizing methods so that you can get all benefits.


Key takeaway: UX design process

You can glean flaws in designs with usability testing that you might otherwise miss. When you see how test users act while they try to perform tasks, you will get real insights into how good your UX design works. So, you can use these insights to make progress. The main goal of a usability test is to:

  • Identify the problem and its impact.
  • Check if your testers can complete tasks solely and successfully.
  • See how the users enjoy using the user product.
  • Find solutions.
  • Evaluate users’ mental state and their performance to see how perfectly your design works.

Also, where the usability tests help you design the right product, it’s vital not to use usability tests as the only tool in your UX research toolbox. And by only focusing on evaluation activity, you will not improve the overall usability.


How to prioritize usability testing in the UX design process

Here are 3 methods for prioritizing usability testing in the UX design process:

  • Impact–effort matrix
  • RICE method
  • Feasibility, desirability, and viability scorecard

You can apply these methods to various “items” in your usability testing. It can be anything like research questions, ideas, user segments, tasks, and features. So, without further ado, let’s explore!


  1. Impact–effort matrix: Overview

The impact-effort matrix is 2D visuals that represent the relative value against the process complexity. So, this method is split into four parts.

  • Quick wins:< high-impact yet low effort designs that are worth doing.
  • Money pit: high effort yet low impact items that are not worth investing, as there are better places to spend resources and time.
  • Big bets: high-value and high-effort items that you should prototype. If carried out, they’re likely to be unique against the competition.
  • Full-ins: low impact and low effort items that are very easy to execute, but cannot be worth the effort, as it has low value.

You can use the variations of this method across several UX design processes like Six Sigma and Agile, etc. We break this method into 3 groups.


  1. Criteria

There are two key criteria to determine which features are most likely to be executed. These are effort and impact.

  • Effort: it includes the share of resources and labor needed to solve the problem. When an item is technically tricky, it will need more effort.
  • Impact: it is the value of the item that will get to the end-user. A product’s impact on end-users will vary based on what the end-user needs, what alternatives are available, and how severe the pain point is that the product solves.


  1. Process

The function of this method is to gather items on a whiteboard. Then, their relative scores on the effort and impact dimensions are decided through voting. You can give the colored dots to the team so that they can vote for those items as per their considerations.

Usually, the number of votes per person is half of the items that have been prioritized. Once the team has silently voted on all the items, they can be placed collectively on an impact-effort matrix.

After that, you can compare items and discuss the result. Then you can prioritize them in the big-bets and quick-wins sections. And lastly, there should be mutual consent on the final placement.

Also, you should document and save all the artifacts so it will be easy for you to reference them in the future.


  1. Best for: Quick, collaborative prioritization

This approach is best for collective yet quick usability testing prioritizations. Also, it has some excellent pros that are:

  • It is inclusive as everyone can express their point of view via votes.
  • The results of this matrix are a shared vision that makes common grounds.

And, you can do this relatively quickly as it is easy.


  1. RICE method: Overview

It is a prioritization method set by Intercom, and it has four primary elements, including; reach, impact, confidence, and effort to prioritize the prototype usability testing features to execute. We break this method into 3 groups.


  1. Criteria

This method consists of scoring each item on 4 different dimensions.

  • Reach: It includes the number of users the items involves within a given time.
  • Impact: It consists of the user’s value-added.
  • Confidence: It gives an approach of how confident you’re in other criteria’s estimates; for instance, you are highly confident if the multiple data sources support the opinion.
  • Effort: It involves the share of work needed to execute the item.


  1. Process

For UX research, using this method is quite specific. In this method, separate scores are given to each criterion; then, it calculates the overall scores.

  • In reach, the score is usually calculated by looking at the user’s number per period, such as a week, year, etc. For best results, this number is derived from a frequency matrix or digital analytics.
  • Ideally, the impact score reflects whether the item increases delight or decreases friction. Usually, it is hard to calculate it exactly, so; it’s typically assigned a score.
  • The confidence score represents a percentage by showing how much you and the team trust the previous scores. Mostly 80% chances represent high confidence and almost 20% of wild guesses.
  • In effort, the score is estimated as person-months which mean the amount of time all team members take to complete the design.

So, when you have reached all of the criterion scores, you can use the following formula to estimate the final score for each item. Multiply the reach, confidence, and impact scores and divide the result by the score of effort.

Now, you can discuss, review, and compare all the scores with your team.


  1. Best for: Technical-oriented teams

This method is best for organizational teams that are technology-oriented. Therefore, the RICE method works best for prioritizing the usability testing in the UX design process.


  1. Feasibility, desirability, and viability scorecard: overview

This method is developed to prioritize usability testing in the UX design process by IDEO in the 2000s. It ranks the items based on individual scores, and it has three criteria that are desirability, feasibility, and viability.


  1. Criteria

This method of prioritization uses three different criteria to rank the items.

  • Feasibility: It involves the degree that can be built technically.
  • Viability: This means if the item is functionally achievable for the business and will benefit the business.
  • Desirability: It consists of the user’s desire that how much they want an item, what unique proposition of value it will provide, and how users will be able to fulfill their goals.


  1. Process

The function of this method starts with creating a table with one row of each item, and it also includes columns for 3 criteria.

  • Firstly for each criterion, it determines a numeric scoring scale.
  • The numeric scale ranges from 1 to 10.
  • Next, it gives each item a score in regard to each criterion.
  • Also, it would be best if the scoring is as informed as possible.
  • There should be team members who have diverse expertise.
  • Once you complete the scoring, calculate each score for a forced rank.

Lastly, sort out the table from high to low scores and discuss the results among the team.


  1. Best for: Customized criteria

This method for prioritizing usability testing in UX research is highly customizable. In this scorecard method, you can easily add more columns to reflect the criteria as per your goals and organizational context. Also, it is very easy to substitute the criteria with others that are suitable to you.


Final words

On the whole, remember that your usability testing should have a meaning and point. For prioritizing usability testing in the UX design process, you can use the methods outlined above.


Free Trial Test Button on a green background with white text that reads "Get The User's View. See how you can improve your website or app"