Usability hallway testing in four easy steps

Last week I went to ConTest in Malmö (Hosted by FooCafe) to talk about usability testing. ConTest is a free meetup for testers, and I was there to talk about usability testing. We ended the evening with a really quick test run of usability hallway testing. I think it’s a brilliant concept, so I’m sharing a quick and dirty guide to it here.

Usability hallway testing in 4 easy steps

The idea with this method is that you go somewhere more or less public and chat up people walking by. Then you show them your product, asking for their opinion (Your product could be an app/website/prototype, or you could simply be asking them some questions). You usually use this method in the end of a project when you have something tangible to show people.

To some, usability hallway testing is treated as a 1-on-1 interview that can take up to 15 minutes. I think that’s way too much and defeats the purpose of the “quick and dirty” approach of this method. I like to keep it really short and not bother people.

Usability hallway testing
  1. Consider your target group and place yourself where those people are likely to go. You won’t get as far testing an app for seniors, if your hallway is placed in a high school.
Usability hallway testing

2. Greet them and present yourself and your product in a natural way where it won’t seem like you’re selling anything or will take a lot of people’s precious time. Let them know that you are genuinely interested in their honest opinion.

Usability hallway testing

3. You only have a few seconds, make sure that the questions you ask have been prepared beforehand, are well considered and valuable. Be present in the conversation and pay attention to what people say.

Usability hallway testing

4. Say thank you and tell people how their opinion will matter. When they’ve left, note down what they said. You will forget it after talking to the next 5 people. I guarantee it.


If you’re curious, you can view my presentation from ConTest here:


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