Content Testing

Testing is a critical step in content development.

The Importance of Testing

Testing helps to ensure content works for its audience.

Test content to

  • Confirm the purpose is valid
  • Ensure the audience is who you think they are
  • Validate assumptions
  • Observe how people interact and respond
  • Get feedback and incorporate improvements
  • Optimize content design with A/B testing

How to Test Content


Content testing should include participants who understand the topic being tested and participants who don't.

It's best to recruit people who are familiar with the topic in general, but unfamiliar with the specific content or program being tested.


Unlike task oriented testing, content testing involves long periods of time when participants scan or read content in silence.

Moderators should be present to reassure to participants and ask follow-up questions.


Testing starts with the assumption that content helps an audience accomplish a task, understand information, or access a service.

Test this assumption to find out it it's true.

Gaps between assumptions and reality are narrowed or eliminated by testing content to revise and improve it.


Ask at least five participants to complete content tasks. Watch how they find information, scan, read, and and interpret.

Record the results and compare with assumptions to see where improvements can be made.


Ask participants to explain in their own words the purpose and meaning of the content they see.

Record responses and compare to the stated purpose of the content.

Assign a value to each response to analyze how well the content aligns with each user's experience. 


Record results and participant comments in a report to show how people interacted with the content.

Include relevant quotes from participants to highlight gaps, challenges and successes.

Writing for the Web

Writing for the Web is the strategy for content.