At some level, you probably already understand segmentation as a concept. But let's talk about how it applies to user testing.
In user testing, segmentation means splitting your tester pool into subsets based on certain characteristics. It allows you to ensure full representation of your target market and easily manage feedback. It also helps you identify patterns in your product's performance or your testers' perception of their experience with your product more quickly, which in turn allows your team to make more impactful changes.
In this blog post, we'll discuss segmentation in depth and give you concrete examples of how you can segment your tester pool to make the most of it during your user tests.
Types of Segmentation
There are many different ways to segment your audience, but here are the three primary categories.
- Demographic Segments
- Technographic Segments
- Psychographic Segments
You already know about demographics, so it's easy to understand demographic segmentation as grouping your testers based on the human characteristics of your target market, such as age, gender, or education. They're essential during user testing because they showcase how different audiences are using and perceiving your product. For example, segmenting your smart speaker users by age helps you monitor how easy or difficult it is for older demographics to use technical features.
Examples of demographics
- Geographic location
- Type of home
There's more to understanding your product than seeing how different demographic groups use and interact with it. In today's highly connected world, it's also important to see how your product is interacting with other products in the wild. That's where technographic segments come in.
Segmenting testers by technology ensures your tests cover use cases for all of the tech your product will interact with in the real world. But you can get really specific in how you're using that data.
For example, say you're testing a smart lock, and you know that customers who buy your smart lock are three times more likely to own your company's smart security solution already. Segmenting your smart lock testers by those who already own your security system isolates issues, ideas, and praise from that highly valuable group of customers, generating insights you can then share directly with your engineering, product, and marketing teams.
Examples of technographics
- Mobile phone model and operating system
- Television model
- Modems and routers
- Internet speed
- Smart devices owned
Psychographic segments categorize your testers based on their preferences, habits, feelings, and attitudes. Where technographic segments offer insight into the interoperability and functionality side of a product, psychographic segments provide context for the more experiential and satisfaction-driven side of your customers. For example, how do users who run 3 or 4 times a week perceive the usefulness of your smartwatch versus those who don't exercise at all? Segmenting users this way would reveal that answer.
Examples of psychographics
- Level of technical aptitude
- Prefers solo exercise to group exercise
- Watches 4 or more hours of television a day
Using Segmentation During Recruitment
Recruiting a tester pool that aligns with your marketing segments is the best (and only) way to guarantee your user testing outcomes accurately reflect your target audience.
Seeing how your product is performing across your target market requires a certain number of testers in each segment. This lets you surface issues and smooth out experiential issues that have a higher chance of impacting your customers. It also establishes statistical significance.
Let's look at it in practice. Imagine you're testing a mobile-only streaming service for gamers. Your target audience is slightly more men than women and they play video games regularly.
To mirror this in your tester pool, you'd first want to make sure your testers are hitting your project's core requirements. This is the absolute bare minimum threshold your testers need to meet in order to test. In this case, they need to play video games and have a smartphone.
Out of those candidates who meet your core requirements, you can start segmenting your tester pool to reflect your target audience. You might shoot for a 60/40 split between men and women (demographics) and a 50/50 split between Android and iPhone users (technographics). And maybe you'd like to monitor satisfaction with your streaming service between people who game more or less frequently, so you segment by that: 25% game 1 or 2 days a week, 50% game 3 to 4 days a week, and 25% 5 days a week or more (psychographics).
Using Segmentation During Feedback Analysis
All the benefits of segmentation come together during feedback analysis. Tester segments allow you to quickly identify patterns among groups and ferry those insights off to the right teams.
For example, your Android testers could run into a bug that only impacts their OS. You can send their feedback and crash reports directly to the engineers building the Android app. Or maybe users who live in cold climates are submitting a lot of praise for your smart thermostat. That's the kind of thing your marketing and sales teams would love to hear about.
Let's Get Those Insights
Now that you understand the power of segmentation in user testing, you're probably itching to put it into practice. But many test managers know all too well that the first step — finding testers in your target market — can be really overwhelming without the right guidance.
That's why we've built the Recruitment Kit: to take the guesswork out of the user testing recruitment process. So whether you're beta testing, field testing, or whatever you call it, you've got a step-by-step guide (plus worksheets and a template) to identifying spectacular test candidates and pulling them into your next project. Get your free Recruitment Kit in our testing resource library.