User feedback and user testing play a significant role in developing and improving digital products such as websites and mobile applications as it helps businesses understand their users. Understanding people, their characteristics, capabilities, commonalities, and differences allows designers to create more effective, safer, efficient, and enjoyable systems .
Here are some key points on what makes user feedback and user testing significant:
- Identifying pain points: User feedback and testing provide valuable insights into the pain points and frustrations as the users are observed using a product or service. Product owners can gather feedback by:
1) observing the user use the system
2) by directly asking them what issues/changes they faced while using the system through surveys/questionnaires or both.
- Enhancing usability: User feedback and testing help identify usability issues and areas of confusion. By observing users interact with a system, businesses can identify confusion and usability issues.
- Tailoring to User Needs: Businesses can directly gather feedback from users on what features and functionalities they need and desire. This allows businesses to achieve products that are more tailored to the user, or in other words, user-centric.
- Validating Assumptions: During the design and development phase, designers often make assumptions based on their understanding of the user needs. Testing those designs allows them to test their assumptions, verify that the features, functionalities, and processes meet the users’ expectations, and ensure that it aligns with their needs.
- Increasing User Satisfaction and Loyalty: By seeking their users’ opinions and valuing their feedback, businesses demonstrate commitment to satisfying their users and their needs. This fosters a sense of ownership and engagement among users, increasing their satisfaction and loyalty toward the product or service.
- Gaining Competitive Advantage: By involving their users in the development process, businesses can build stronger relationships with their audience and create products and services that meet the users’ needs and resonate with them. Thus, it differentiates them from their competitors.
- Minimizing Risk and Costly Mistakes: Testing the product and getting feedback in the early stages (design phase) minimizes mistakes and risks since businesses can fix any faults before the product is developed and ready to be launched. It is always best to launch a website/app that is already tested and perfected because users usually judge the website from the first few seconds on the page, so designers should make a good first impression, they might not get a second chance .
There are various ways of collecting those valuable insights from your users. Here are the most common methods:
- Surveys and Questionnaires: Surveys and questionnaires allow you to gather user feedback through close-ended questions for quantitative data and open-ended questions for qualitative insights. Surveys provide an overview of users’ opinions but may lack details. A study experimented and coined the “think-aloud survey method”, where they let users think aloud when answering a questionnaire. It provided deeper insights and context into the reasonings behind the participants’ responses. 
- Interviews and Focus Groups: Conducting interviews and focus groups allow in-depth conversations about the product or service. The conductor can ask follow-up questions, clarify points, and gain deeper insights into user experiences. However, they require more time and effort to organize and analyze compared to surveys.
- User Testing and Observations: User testing involves observing the user interact with your product or service, either in-person or remotely. This method allows you to directly observe how users navigate and complete tasks and if they face any confusion or usability issues. The think-aloud protocol can also be used here to better understand their interaction as they express their thoughts out loud while using your product or service.
- Heatmaps and Analytics: Heatmap tools analyze user behavior by tracing and visualizing where users click, hover, or scroll on your website. Heatmaps provide data on popular areas, user engagement, and pain points.
- Social Media Platforms: Monitoring social media platforms and online communities can provide valuable insights into user sentiment, conversations, and feedback about your product or service. By actively listening and engaging with users on social media, you can gather feedback, address concerns, and build positive relationships.
- Customer Support Interactions: Customer support interactions are often a great way to get valuable customer feedback. You can determine pain points and issues, identify trends, and get suggestions.
Tip: You do not have to follow all of the above mentioned methods. Remember to always select the methods that align with your goals, target audience, and available resources. Combining quantitative and qualitative feedback collection methods provides a comprehensive understanding of user needs, preferences, and pain points. Capturing both qualitative and quantitative data helps researchers and those who receive the study results to paint a broader picture of a product’s successes and challenges. 
In summary, user feedback and testing provide invaluable insights that guide product development, enhance usability, tailor experiences to user needs, validate assumptions, and ultimately result in higher user satisfaction, loyalty, and business success.
 Nielsen, L., Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., and Jansen, B. J. (2021) Think-Aloud Surveys – A Method for Eliciting Enhanced Insights During User Studies, INTERACT 2021 18th IFIP TC13 International Conference on Human–Computer Interaction. 30 Aug. – 3 Sept. Bari, Italy.
 Ritter, F.E., Baxter, G.D., & Churchill, E.F. (2014). Foundations for Designing User-Centered Systems. Springer London.
 Hass, C. (2019). A Practical Guide to Usability Testing. In: Edmunds, M., Hass, C., Holve, E. (eds) Consumer Informatics and Digital Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-96906-0_6
 Barnum, C. (2010). Usability testing essentials: Ready, set…test!. Elsevier.