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Sick Design: Stunted Testing

Sick Design: Buildus Sans Testus

(Latin: “Stunted Testing”)

A team worked on a product for over a year. They thought they knew what their users wanted. Why wouldn’t they? They were designing a product they would use, after all. After launching, they found that 80% of the users used only 20% of the app. Guess they really put the “ass” in assumption. They suffered from stunted testing, an ailment with a cure.


  • No product/market fit
  • Backroom full of unsold company swag
  • Flawed designs
  • A severe feeling of failure
  • Disappointed mothers


  • No dedicated time or resources for user testing
  • Lots of ego-centric assumptions 
  • Too much reliance on uninformed “gut feelings”


Unfortunately, this is an all too common mistake in the product design world. It’s easy to snub user feedbackentirely when all you hear around the office is:  “I would totally buy this myself!” and “I wish I could have had this years ago!” 

But as designers, we should be well aware that everyone has a personal bias. Even if we have a large and diverse team, the thoughts of our team don’t always represent the thoughts of our user base. Testing is essential. 

Get Feedback Early to Prevent Stunted Testing

Opening up your product to feedback early can prevent your team from wasting time and resources going too far in the wrong direction. You can also learn more about the problems your potential users have so you can frame your product marketing in the best way. When product marketing and development are working together, some real sparks can happen! 

Recognizing that you and your team have personal biases is the first step. Part of being a great designer is using your instincts and gut feeling, but this needs to be balanced with a healthy dose of data. 

Collecting data that’s comprehensive and easy to comb through is the next step. To do that, you must engage in user testing with a tester pool that best represents your target audience. 

There are a variety of testing tools and services on the market, so do your research and weigh the pros and cons of each. Helio has several flexible testing features that makes it a favorite for companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and McAfee. . 

Your target audience can take Helio surveys from any device — phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Helio also offers more than a dozen question types that covers all of your product testing needs. 

You can test with your own users or you can purchase results from our global pool of participants. Just start the test and you’ll start getting results in minutes, not days or weeks. Lastly, all of the results are organized into easy to read, info packed reports that break down all the demographic data. Your team will think you’re a rockstar! 

Your third and final step is to put all of this data to use. It can be easy to minimize your test results and explain away why your testers acted the way they did, thinking you and your team know better. This is dangerous thinking. The data does not lie, especially if it was collected properly! Put your ego to bed and fold in what you’re learning.

Follow these steps and you’ll cure any stunted testing in your organization.

Validate Your Target Audience

Get started today and validate your audience exactly is with our easy-to-use Helio test template. Make sure you’re reaching the right folks for you product or service.

Validate Audience Test

Are you reaching your target audience? Begin to answer that crucial question with this specialized customer survey.

Use this template for:

  • Consumer Profiling
  • Identify important customer attributes
  • Build confidence that you’re reaching the right audience
Use Template