By Owen Fay . Posted on May 20, 2022

“Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product to achieve its maximum potential.” – Thomas Watson, Jr.

Product design is how designers combine customer needs with commercial objectives in order to assist companies to create consistently profitable products. Designers strive to improve the user experience with the solutions they create for their customers, as well as benefit their businesses by ensuring that their products are long-term business solutions.

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” –  Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover

A great way to avoid the high cost of bad designs is by running a preference test to understand the opinions of your target audience. Participants in a preference test are shown two versions of a design and asked to choose the one they like the most. These tests are frequently used to assess aesthetic appeal, but they may also be used to assess design trustworthiness or how well they express a specific message or idea.

An advantage of preference testing is that it can be performed before a product or design is finished, allowing you to get feedback early on and make changes as needed. Preference testing generates both quantitative and qualitative input, allowing you to understand what and why the users prefer a design.

In this blog, we will explain product design testing, the benefits, and how to run a preference test on your product designs.

What is Product Design Preference Testing?

Preference testing is a research approach for determining which options people prefer. Participants in the study are given two options and asked to give their feedback and opinions. These tests are frequently used to identify whether designs are the most visually appealing, understandable, or trustworthy.

A preference test is a quick and easy way to get real-world feedback on your designs. Colors, logos, layout, copy, and many other parts of your designs can be optimized through testing.

The opportunity to get input early in the design process is a massive benefit of conducting a preference test. This early input not only reveals what your users want but also why they prefer it and can help the development of your future design iteration.

Iterative design is based on the principle that design should be done in cycles. It’s a continuous process of refining and upgrading your product design based on customer feedback. This is an excellent opportunity for designers to look at the big picture, enhance their work based on user feedback, and make the product more valuable to consumers.

Unlike more traditional types of design (such as print design), the design process for digital products isn’t a one-time event, and designers should never expect to get everything right the first time. Implementation frequently reveals design flaws, for example, bad assumptions about product usage, which are hard to predict without launching the product.

What are the benefits of Product Design Testing?

User testing, no matter how much ability you have on your team, highlights the potential faults with your design. On the other side, failing to test can lead to plenty of issues down the road. You’ll spend more time and money addressing issues identified after launch than if you simply tested before launch.

If you’re wondering why a great product design can’t exist without design testing and what advantages testing can provide, consider these benefits:

  • Product design testing provides quick responses from your audience on their preferences.
  • Finding issues in the early stage of the design process so they can be solved at the start.
  • Giving you confidence that you are launching the right design.
  • It helps you to understand user preferences and opinions.

How to Run a Product Design Preference Test with Poll the People?

When comparing designs, utilizing the Poll the People platform allows you to test faster, design better, and streamline your product design process. The easiest way to find the best product design is to run a quick preference test with Poll the People to gather feedback from your audience about the designs they like the most.

We’ll give you a quick overview of how to run a design test on our platform in five easy steps. You’ll be able to set the test up in just 5 minutes and gather hundreds of responses in under an hour.

1. Create Designs

Building a prototype of the product design is the most important yet most obvious step to testing. The type of prototype you make is entirely dependent on what you need to test and where you are in the product design process.

You can develop an interactive and high-fidelity prototype that closely resembles the final product once you’ve created a rough design. This would allow for interactive testing and make it easier to understand for the users.

The ultimate goal of the testing process of product design is to deliver something that provides a workable solution for the audience. You want to create designs that can establish itself in the market, without testing you have a chance of product failure once it goes live.

You don’t want to waste your time making final products if you don’t know what your final design will be. Digital prototypes will save you time and money by allowing you to determine which design is best for your users.

The way your users engage with your design, a sketch, physical prototype, paper design, or digital prototype, is determined by how you want users to engage with the design. You should create prototypes to be compared in a preference test when you have multiple designs to choose from.

2. Ask the Right Questions:

After you’ve created your prototypes and decided on your testing template, you’ll need to set up the test.

Next, you will create your test questions after uploading your designs to the template. It’s best to keep the test questions basic while looking for user preferences. A successful test has well-defined goals and a specific target audience.

The more specific you are with questions the more accurate the test will be. If you want to ask general questions, we suggest phrasing the question to user preferences “Which design, do you prefer?” this puts the decision on the user. The users are qualified to tell you about their opinions not what is a great design.

Avoid using leading questions that persuade your users to choose one design over another. If you lead your questions to the option that you like the most your test won’t represent the real opinions of the users.

The purpose of testing is to see if people can interact with the design on their own without anyone explaining it to them or convincing them that they should use it.

web design test

3. Choose Your Audience:

Run the test with an audience that mirrors your genuine audience when it comes to recruitment or selecting users to test with. Obtaining a diverse range of opinions can help you decide on the best product design based on real customer feedback.

If you are testing design you need to have a well-defined target audience, which includes everybody who might be interested in your products or services. The target audience is the group of people you are looking to reach with your products, whether through a digital marketing campaign, an advertisement, social media, or promotions.

When choosing the audience you test with you want to use a representation of your target audience. The users need to be from a lot of different backgrounds to paint the full picture of user preferences. Poll the People is equipped with a user panel of over half a million users from over 100 countries. The general audience is great for just about any testing goals, but if you want more specific targeting the platform offers a number of segmentation options to get responses from the users you need.

Choose an audience size that provides statistical significance and gives you confidence in the winning design. With Poll the People, you’ll get enough feedback from roughly 100 people.

4. Review and Launch Your Test:

After the test has been set up, go through the questions, designs, and layout again. You have decided on your question, designs, and audience, review the payment information, and click launch. You’ll see responses roll in within minutes, that’s it, you’re on your way to finding the best possible product design for your business.

5. Analyze Results:

With Poll the People, your test will take around an hour to complete and will provide you with written feedback from hundreds of people. We do some calculations for you when it comes to analyzing outcomes. We provide graphs that show the winner of the test, as well as the margin of victory and the number of users that chose each design. Users also provide a detailed explanation of their choice to assist you in identifying flaws in the designs or reasoning behind the winner.

The results dashboard on Poll the People provides you with all of the information you need to make your decision. Simply go through the feedback to find insights that can help you improve your product designs.


Product designs can either help or hurt your business, the cost of bad designs is much higher than the cost of testing your designs early and often. A design preference test allows you to gather user feedback and put the best foot forward when you are launching new designs.

A product design preference test helps to know the right design. Poll the People is the best platform for you to test your design with real users prior to its launch. Poll the People makes tests simple, easy, and fast. By following some simple steps, you can run a product design preference test on Poll the People to ensure you are launching the right designs.

If you are looking for the best way to test fast, validate a design, and streamline your testing process Poll the People is the answer. Sign up for free and start optimizing your product designs!

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