User research in Beta testing and live

Date adopted: 
September 14, 2022
Last update: 
October 3, 2022

Prototype development (Alpha) is about planning and exploring solutions to solve a problem. Beta testing is all about building, testing and working out the details.

Beta testing

In Beta testing the user research goals are to:

  • finish your accessibility test plan;
  • test the service with users;
  • triage the testing feedback; and
  • prioritize and address issues you've uncovered.

Find out how to organize and run restricted and unrestricted private Beta testing. This page also includes guidance on emailing participants.

Examples of some user research methods you can use in Beta testing

Field studies

Conducting a field study in Beta testing will help you identify usability issues. You can then address these issues before your service launches.

Usability testing

Usability testing on high fidelity prototypes will allow you to identify potential issues. You will iterate the service based on what you learn from testing to improve the user experience.


Live is where teams track user feedback, prioritize issues and develop solutions. Teams will retest once they've made improvements to:

  • confirm they have addressed the user experience issue; and
  • make sure the solution hasn't affected the usability of other parts of the service.

Examples of user research methods you can use in Live


Use analytics to:

  • get insights into what people are doing when they use your service or website; and
  • identify issues or possible causes of issues.

Card sorting

Use card sorting if you are planning a redesign of a website. Use the content on your existing website. This will help you determine if the organization and labelling are working. It will also help you determine if you can make adjustments or if you need to build a new website.

Content quality

Use the government's tool to track the quality of content on your website. If your page has a poor score, work with your website manager to identify and address issues.

Field studies

Conducting a field study on a live service will help you see if there are any usability issues. You can then decide if you need to make any adjustments.

Surveys and questionnaires

Surveys give you a reflection of attitudes of your whole user populations. Questionnaires give you opinions, but do not represent the whole user population.

Tree testing

Use tree testing on websites to test the information architecture. This will allow you to create a benchmark. You can then test it again after you've made some improvements.

Usability testing

You will conduct usability testing before your website or service launches. But, you can also use it once they are live to identify areas of the service to work on.

User feedback

Once your website or service is live, you will begin to collect user feedback. Monitor and track this feedback to identify any usability issues so you can address them.