Since we are testing a website with complex structure (navigation) and lots of terminology, we just wondering if we can introduce the background and give user about 5 mins to free clicks the system to get familiar with the content. Any good suggestion?

3 Answers 3



Generally, we do "Expectancy Testing" to understand what is the expectation of the user. As the name implies, the goal of this testing is understanding what users are expecting from the application.

Free Exploratory Testing: As the name implies, this allows the user to explore the app for initial few minutes to understand the content, branding, navigation, performance, etc.

You can read more @ http://salzertechnologies.com/usability-testing/


I would say it depends on what you are expecting to learn from doing this. What are you going to learn from watching someone blindly messing about with your solution for 5 minutes?

A much better technique for testing complex structure and terminology, is running simple card sorts. Do you know how to run a card sort? Do you know there are two different types of card sort?


Knowing how your users group information can help you:

  • Build the structure for your website
  • Decide what to put on the homepage
  • Label categories and navigation

Open and Closed Card Sorting

Depending on your needs, you may choose to do an open or closed card sort. They differ as follows:

Open Card Sort: Participants are asked to organise topics from content within your website into groups that make sense to them and then name each group they created in a way that they feel accurately describes the content. Use an open card sort to learn how users group content and the terms or labels they give each category.

Closed Card Sort: Participants are asked to sort topics from content within your website into pre-defined categories. A closed card sort works best when you are working with a pre-defined set of categories, and you want to learn how users sort content items into each category.

In summary, you must always have a clear objective about what you want to learn from your testing.


Generally, there would be some cost involved when you are engaging with the users. Why let go of the time you have with users for free?

I would recommend going for an exploratory testing as well. Everything the user does is a data point for you. The initial impact of your design on the user is also a crucial aspect of evaluation. I would make sure I am recording everything the user is doing. There will not be free time to play with.

I will let the users roam around for exploratory testing, but I would also request them to talk aloud to let me know what they are thinking. What they are trying to achieve when they click on a navigation label, or what they find confusing etc. I may not start my targeted tests with workflows, but I will make a note of every observation or comment a user is willing to give.

The time you are awarding for free to play actually offers some data points which will be lost when you begin with more standard test runs. Something like the initial impact of your color palette, thoughts on navigation and presumptions of the users, will be captured in the first few minutes. I would not want to miss out on that opportunity.

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