Updates on City of San José Services and/or Operations . (English | Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文)

Running a user test session

Talking to your users will help you uncover problems and opportunities to improve your city service.

Intercepting participants in a public place

  • Introduce yourself and remind people that it’s short
  • If you’re at the Permit Center, offer to keep an eye on their #
  • Use a script like this:
    “Hi, my name is _____. We’re working with the City to help make the services more user-friendly. We’re looking to ask your feedback on a few ideas we’re testing. It’s short, and will only take 10 minutes.


Observe & Take good notes

  • Jot down 2 to 3 things the user struggled with (if anything) and any surprises
  • Don’t write down anything a user says that’s indiscreet (or incriminating) 
  • When moderating a user session:
    • Remind users there aren’t any right or wrong answers
    • Keep your responses neutral ( “Mm hmm”, “Uh huh”, “I hear you”)
    • Don’t give clues, express your own opinions, or tell them what to do.



 You’re not sure what the user is thinking   “What are you thinking?”
 The user seems surprised by something   “Is that what you expected to happen?”
 The user ask for a clue “Should I use the ___?”   “What would you do if you were at home? (wait for answer).”Go ahead and try that.”
 You’re not sure what triggered the user’s comment  “Was there something in particular that made you think that?”
 The user is concerned they’re not giving you what you need.  “No, this is very helpful.”
 You want to make sure you’ve understood correctly. “So what I hear you saying, [paraphrase what the user just said]. Is that correct?”