Make Sure to Test Your Course User Experience

Your course is built, but is it ready to be launched? No! Don’t forget this important step!

The biggest mistake that I see people make when they create their online course is that they don’t have any user testing before they launch it. What usually happens is that they go through the course themselves a few times and then when they are happy with the workflow they press “publish”.

This is a bad idea.

You have to remember that you have been working on your course and program for many months. You are familiar with it. As a result, no matter how hard you try you will ultimately miss something obvious or overlook a step that seems easy to you but is confusing to someone brand new to your course.

I cannot stress how important it is to get other people going through your course prior to the official launch. There are three general ways you can do this. These aren’t mutually exclusive either – you can (and probably should) use all three.

Ask your friends & family.

Pretty self-explanatory. Once your course is ready to go ask your friends and family to go through the enrollment or purchase process. If you are selling courses make sure that they pay for it. Naturally you will just issue them a refund. You want to double-check that everything is configured properly on your end for the purchase process.

If you don’t practice the purchase process then you risk customers being frustrated with their first interaction with you and your product. I know from experience.

Way back when LearnDash first launched we sent out an email announcement to our list. However, we didn’t fully test the purchase process and found out that PayPal wasn’t configured correctly and no one was receiving access to the software!

As you can imagine this didn’t go over well.

We spent the next day manually email people the software and apologizing profusely. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

Ask your list for beta testers.

Beta testers are a bit different than friends and family in that they represent your actual customers. If you have an email list then try to get a handful of people to sign-up to receive the product for free. In exchange, they provide you with feedback about the process.

If possible, try to have a formal group where you can ask everyone specific questions. As a tip I don’t recommend that you  ask open-ended questions. People won’t really respond. Instead, ask about specific aspects on the course or course flow. You will find that this will initiate the conversation and people will actually share quite a bit of information.

Hire a user testing service.

The problem with the two above strategies is that sometimes you don’t get really good feedback and this can be misleading in that you don’t truly know whether everything is working correctly or not. To get around this issue you can hire a professional service for user testing.

The investment isn’t usually that large and in return you get real people going through your course. What’s more is that they record their screen during the process so you can see exactly where they are going and how they are interacting with everything.

If you just Google “User Testing Service” you will get a lot of great options. Probably the most well-known is UserTesting.

This isn’t meant as advice, it’s a prescription.

I cannot stress enough how important this is. Our support team works with people every day to answer questions and to resolve any unforeseen issues. A large percentage of the issues received could be avoided if ample user testing was put into place prior to the launch of the course program.

So as you make your checklist of items to complete for your course make sure to include user testing. You will be glad you did!

Author

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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