Why friends and family are not good UX testers #UsabilityTesting

There are two rules of Usability Testing that we tend to ignore: “don’t conduct sessions for your own products” and “don’t ask friends and family to be usability testers”.

The reason why the first rule exists is because, even if we try really hard, it’s very likely that if the user asks a question we’ll try to help them, and if the user makes a harsher comment we tend to become defensive. The truth is, the less someone knows about the product being tested, the better facilitator they’ll be. They are there to guide the user through the tasks you want to test, not to influence the user’s decisions.

The second reason is more subjective, but most often than not, if you ask friends and family to test a product they’ll try to be polite and nice in every comment they make (whether they be positive or negative), but if they didn’t knew you, they would certainly say other comments and in a very different way.

When you don’t follow neither of these rules, the feedback you get from running usability sessions will be very superficial and you won’t really validate the product.