When usability testing, participants would often
- open a page then go back;
- make an edit then undo it;
- go with an option then go back and pick another...
Many UXRs would fail to notice these as signs of usability issues. After all the user didn't complain... They made a mistake and recovered from it.
Indeed if the user does something and then reverts it, that means they misunderstood something at first. The product didn't work according to their mental model. The UI misled them.
Whenever I see users change their minds I go and unpack:
- what did they expect to happen and what made them expect that?
- what is their understanding of what happened?
Here is an example of unpacking the reason of "change of mind":
- Participant: [Clicks on the "About" menu item but then goes back almost immediately]
- Researcher: [Unpacks by mirroring the participant's action...] "So you clicked "About" then went back..."
- Participant: "Yes, I did that. I thought I would find opening hours under About, but I didn't."
- Researcher: [So that was his expectation. Why though? Mirroring again:] "Hm... you thought opening hours would be under About..."
- Participant: "Yes, I mean the opening hours is a piece of information about the supermarket, right? It has a location, opening hours, contact information..."