Choosing a Method for Collecting Feedback

At a Glance

Not sure which method to use to collect the feedback you need? These guidelines will help you understand which method to use at each stage of your process.


Every project requires insights from the people who will be using the product or service that the project is creating.

The first step in deciding the right method to collecting those insights is to determine where you are in the project timeline. From there, you'll select the method to help you answer the questions you have based on your project's objectives.

What follows is a list of timeline scenarios (in bold) you may find yourself in and the type of UserTesting tests that would best fulfill your testing needs at that particular juncture.

We haven’t designed anything yet. Or, we have an existing design, but we're thinking of redesigning it.

This is a great opportunity to gather information about people’s needs, behaviors, and requests so you can provide an experience that meets their expectations.

Do some discovery work, using any of the following methods for asking target users about their behaviors, preferences, attitudes, and opinions:

  • Discovery interviews to more deeply understand your users.
  • Surveys to get a baseline understanding of who your audience is—or to validate the information you learned in your discovery interviews.
  • Unmoderated tests to observe how people accomplish their tasks today (even if they use a competitor's website to accomplish it).
  • A card sort to understand how users would organize the features and content you are providing.

Other methods for collecting feedback at this stage include:

  • Competitor studies: understand what competitors are doing and people's experiences with those competitors and the products and services they provide.
  • Benchmark studies: run this type of longitudinal study to get a pulse on what users think of your current product or service, to measure baseline metrics when you iterate the design, and to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Tree tests: this type of test is useful for evaluating the navigation of your website or app; it demonstrates whether users are able to find the features and content you are providing.

We are early in the ideation and design phase, but we haven’t yet settled on a single solution.

As soon as you have some sketches or wireframes, put them in front of your target audience and get feedback on them by conducting...

  • Moderated usability tests if your sketches are very exploratory so that you can ask follow-up questions with the participant in real time.
  • Unmoderated usability tests to quickly understand the parts of the wireframes that are clear and which parts need more work.
  • Preference tests to get feedback on various early design ideas. This allows you to combine the best aspects from each of the different designs before too much effort has been put into any one solution.

We are iterating on our design and building the version to launch.

As you refine your design ideas based on early feedback, build a prototype and get feedback on the prototype's look and feel, its content, and what interactions users have with it. The earlier you identify issues with your design, the cheaper it is to fix them. 

With that in mind, conduct...

  • Prototype tests to get feedback as the designs become more and more interactive.
  • Usability tests with the same tasks and metrics as the benchmark test you previously ran.
  • Comprehension tests to ensure the content is easy to understand and communicates your intended message.

We just launched a new design and we want to know how it is performing.

Collect quick feedback from your target audience. Measure whether the design meets the expectations of users by running...

  • A benchmark study to measure whether the design is outperforming the metrics from your previous benchmark.
  • An A/B test to determine that the new design is outperforming the old design.
  • An analysis of your web metrics to see how the qualitative and quantitative data of your test are working together.

To see see how an experience fits into the lives of your users as they work in their natural work or non-work settings, consider conducting...

  • A diary study to see multiple touchpoints with the same people over time.
  • A multichannel study to understand how an experience is performing on different devices.
  • An omnichannel study to understand the holistic experience across touchpoints and channels.

Learn More

Need more information? Read this related article.

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