Create an Effective User Testing Plan

User tests should be tailored to specific learning objectives to avoid wasting users’ time and ensure desired outcomes. A test plan is an important document used to ensure that user testing is focused on specific learning goals. It is a working document that includes all the details of the usability study and is updated as the process moves forward. Here are some tips for creating an effective test plan:

Benefits of having a test plan

The advantage of having a test plan is that it helps you create a strategy for testing. It also allows you to track progress, identify issues, and ensure quality throughout the testing process.

Having a test plan:

  • Makes it easy to communicate with stakeholders
  • Makes it easy to communicate with design team members who may want input into the usability test
  • Keep the usability test team on track and organized before during and after the study
  • Understand the cost breakdown of the study
  • Guide moderators

What to include within a test plan

A test plan outlines the objectives, methods, and resources needed to conduct a successful user test. Specifically, it cab include:

  • Purpose of the test
  • Learning objectives, hypothesis, and assumptions
  • Methodology (e.g., in-person, remote, moderated, unmoderated)
  • Sample size and criteria for participant selection
  • Recruitment plan
  • Schedule/Location
  • Testing environment and equipment
  • Testing design (e.g., scenarios, tasks, questionnaires)
    • Tasks/ Scenarios
    • Questions
    • Metrics
    • Data collection methods
  • Analysis plan
  • Team Roles
  • Timeline and budge


How to create a test plan


Define the Purpose and Goals of the Test

The first step in creating a test plan is to define the purpose and goals of the test. What questions do you want to answer? What specific aspects of the user experience do you want to evaluate? Defining the purpose and goals of the test helps ensure that the test is focused and the data collected is relevant.

Schedule and Location

The next step is to determine the schedule and location for the test. When will the test be conducted? Where will it take place? It is essential to schedule the test at a time when users are available and willing to participate. Additionally, the location should be conducive to testing, with minimal distractions and a comfortable environment.

Define Session Information

The test plan should include session information such as the length of the session, the number of participants per session, and the session format (e.g., individual or group). This information helps to ensure that the test is structured and that the data collected is consistent.


The test plan should also include details about the equipment needed for the test, such as cameras, microphones, or screen recording software. It is essential to ensure that the equipment is in good working condition and that it does not interfere with the user’s experience.


The test plan should define the roles of each team member involved in the test. This includes the moderator, note-taker, and observer. Defining roles helps to ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities and the test is conducted smoothly.


The test plan should include details about the participants, such as their demographic information and the criteria used to select them. It is essential to recruit participants who are representative of the target audience to ensure that the data collected is relevant.

Test Design

The test plan should include details about the test design, such as the scenarios or tasks that participants will perform. The scenarios should be realistic and relevant to the product or service being tested. Additionally, the test plan should include any materials that will be used during the test, such as prototypes or wireframes.


The test plan should also include hypotheses or assumptions that will be tested during the user test. These hypotheses or assumptions should be based on previous research, and the test should be designed to validate or invalidate them.


The test plan should include the specific tasks or scenarios that participants will perform during the test. These tasks should be designed to simulate real-world scenarios and should be relevant to the product or service being tested.


The test plan should include the questions that will be asked during the test. These questions should be designed to elicit feedback from participants and to gather insights into their experience.


Finally, the test plan should define the metrics that will be used to evaluate the success of the test. These metrics should be tied to the goals and objectives of the test and should be measurable.

Considerations when creating a test plan

  • Typically, the usability specialist meets with the site or product owner and members of the development team to decide on the major elements of the plan.
  • The specialist often drafts the plan, which then circulates to management and the rest of the team.
  • Once everyone has commented and a final plan is agreed upon, the usability specialist revises the written plan to reflect the final decisions.
  • Not every test plan is created equal. The shape of the test plan depends on the goals, scope, and needs of the project.
  • The process is iterative. Scenario details, discussion questions, and other elements may change throughout the process of creating the plan.

✋🏾 Hi There!

My name is Tiffany and I am a UX and Technology leader who helps large enterprises build profitable digital products and high-performing digital teams. From time to time, I share helpful resources that address common challenges right here.

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