After you’ve defined your purpose for usability testing, it is important that you make assumptions and define your hypothesis, not so you can skip the testing, but so that you can test them. It’s a critical difference.

Defining your assumptions:

First, it’s important to understand that an assumption is a calculated guess which you can use to form your hypothesis.

Follow these steps and you will on the right path:

Step 1. Make an assumption

Step 2. Use the assumption to formulate a hypothesis

Step 3. Test the hypothesis (with an open mind)

Using the example of the online coffee subscription service, let’s look at some possible assumptions:

  • People are dropping off because there are too many steps in the sign-up process causing frustration
  • People are being asked to enter their credit card details too early in the process before they have confidence in the brand
  • People aren’t sure what they are committing to leading up to the sign-up processLet’s run with the first assumption from that list and use it to form our hypothesis.

Defining your Hypothesis:

By this stage, we have decided on an assumption we want to test.

Now it is time to turn our chosen assumptions into a corresponding hypothesis which then allows us to create specific test objectives.

This is a general structure that is useful for forming the hypothesis for usability testing:

We believe that [Belief] is important for [Audience]. This will achieve [Result]. We will have demonstrated this when [Success Condition].*

So an example hypothesis could look like:

We believe that an easier sign-up process is important for the users of our service. This will achieve a higher number of account creations. We will have demonstrated this if our sign up conversion rate increases by at least 10%.