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I am conducting a moderated user test in which I am asking the participant to engage with a very simple design that only has four calls to action. As there is only a limited selection of elements to interact with, how do I interpret the results of the participants actions as being meaningful and not just clicking on something because "that's all they had to click on?"

Do I interpret success as the participant explaining the "why" they clicked one of the four calls to action?

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    Don't trust people's explanations of why they did something. Human beings justify their emotional choices by claiming that they are logical decisions. That plus the fact that by default we are illogical beings, who make decisions based on our emotional state, makes for interesting truths behind why we do certain things. By the way, it's not bad to think emotionally, it's what allows humans to do very selfless acts. Jul 2, 2022 at 19:18
  • Now as for your tests, you'll need to give some context. What type of product are these CTAs in. Is it an app, a website, etc. Jul 2, 2022 at 19:19

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It depends on the user task given and it's important for you to assess if the CTA is clear to the user, it meets the user's mental models and expectations on what will happen when they click it. If the user has a task of finding and purchasing a pair of sneakers you could ask the user questions like: "how would you go about that", "before clicking on the CTA that you just pointed out, could you please tell me what you would expect to happen?", "do you see other methods of achieving that" and other such questions that would even help you find out if the user's action was meaningful or if they were just thinking of clicking on something because "that's all they had to click on".

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