User Testing: 3 Common Mistakes Everyone Should Watch Out For

User testing is an important part of the Design Sprint process, but there are three common mistakes that people make.
Christine Garcia
June 1, 2020

User testing seems simple — just ask people questions about your product, right? But, of course, it's not that simple.

Our founder, Robin Dhanwani, talks about 3 common mistakes that even people who have run dozens of Design Sprints can make during user testing.


Someone asked me, "What are the common mistakes that you can do while running user tests?" Interesting question.

Don't recruit the wrong user

The first mistake that you can do, don't be surprised, is recruiting the wrong user.

You've recruited somebody and they have come onboard, you're running a test with them, and you realize, "This person would never buy my product or use my product."

That's the first mistake you can make. Make sure you profile them [users] well before you schedule an interview with them.

Don't ask leading questions

The second mistake you can make is getting them to say whatever you want. It's your product, you've spent a lot of time trying to design it, and you're trying to ask them leading questions for them to say, "I really love this product."

Don't do that. Don't ask leading questions. Ask open questions.

Don't interrogate the user

And the third mistake that you can make — very often I have seen this — is getting into an interview mode.

You're not interrogating them. It's not user research, where you need to ask them about why they should buy your product vs. the competition.

It's a user test. Don't forget that they need to be testing the product, and you need to observe them.

Again, I've seen this so often, that you switch from a testing mode to an interview mode. You start asking them questions — why would you do this and not do this, and do that, and stuff, without getting them to play with the prototype.

That defeats the whole purpose.

You're not doing user research. It's a user test. Get them to play with the prototype and observe how they're using it.

To sum it up

Those are the top three mistakes that come to my mind.

Mistake 1: Recruiting the wrong user.

Mistake 2: Don't ask leading questions. Ask open questions.

Mistake 3: You're not doing user research. It's a user test. Get them to playwith the prototype and observe how they're using it.

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About the author

Christine Garcia

Content & Communications consultant , Parallel

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