A quality step in software development where users are recruited who match key characteristics of target users and are asked to complete tasks using the software. Key measures are user error rate, time on task, and satisfaction. Can be moderated or unmoderated, remote or in-person. A skillful moderator can draw out mental model mismatches. The goal is to find issues while they are still relatively inexpensive to correct.

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Your job is to protect the user from bugs and usability issues by catching them before they are shipped.

People are very opinionated creatures. If you are a UI & UX expert, or a designer/developer, it is so easy to get caught in the cycle of making ultimate decisions based solely on past knowledge and experiences. The problem is, every scenario is different so past knowledge and experience won't always give you the correct answer. All it can do is help guide you into the right direction. This is where user testing comes into play.