We are thinking to eliminate the word “testing” from our vocabulary to make it more user-friendly and human-oriented. We could start using the term “Design validation”. On the other hand, Jakob Nielsen has said: "The phrase “validate the design” discourages teams from finding and following up on UX issues in user testing" https://www.nngroup.com/articles/no-validate-in-ux/

What are your thoughts?

2 Answers 2


I think it's the word user that's more of an issue than the word testing.

After all, you're testing the product not the user. In fact, the chances are that your user testing script reminds you to tell participants that you're testing the product not them.

Usability testing would be better, and is an accepted term - one that I don't believe is unfriendly or particularly non human oriented.

However, if you're especially seeking to remove the word testing, then you need a neutral term that doesn't suggest caring only about positive reinforcement as opposed to open-minded discovery and learning. Usability evaluation for example.

  • 1
    Tufte once said 'Only two industries call their customers Users, and one is software'
    – Mike M
    Commented Oct 30, 2017 at 20:23
  • @MikeM well the aircraft industry tend to call their customers ie passengers the “self loading cargo”...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 12:29

I disagree with the answer that the word 'user' is more of an issue. The whole point is to understand your users—NOT to just understand or test your product (you built it so you should know!).

The word 'testing' assumes some sort of scientific yes/no or numeric answer. However, most user testing is to get to the human aspects of WHY people are doing certain things. It's not to understand the results of WHAT they did with your product—quantitative analytic tools w/ user session flows like Mixpanel can give you that.

I do agree that usability testing, usability evaluation are good options.

I would also add user sessions, user evaluation, user experience testing as potential options.

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