How to apply user testing that builds website success

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Our clients and customers are a strange and often little-known phenomenon to many of us. Yes, we have demographic information, we know what they are prepared to spend and we market to them based on need and desire, but this sort of information barely scratches the surface.

So if we don’t know them inside and out, how do we presume to know what they want in a website and whether they find ours useful? We can’t — and that’s why we never overlook the power of user testing.

A/B and Multivariate user testing are two testing methods within human experience strategies commonly used to determine what works and what doesn’t on a website — from a user perspective. While both terms may at first seem a little intimidating, in fact, these methods are the most straight-forward, simple and highly effective ways to get into your users’ minds.

In this article we’ll focus on A/B testing, click here to read our next article on Multivariate testing.

So what is A/B testing?

A/B or split testing is one of the simplest user acceptance testing concepts available. It involves taking website A and a slightly different website B, and asking real users to test them out and assess which one works better. From the results, we can ascertain issues in anything from design and functionality through to navigation, and ensure the best version of our website is what is launched to the public.

These tests examine practical elements such as layout, style, word length, image use, price of products and a myriad of other features that relate directly to how our customers use our sites.

When employing A/B testing to assess your site, keep in mind you won’t get results overnight. Testing should take anywhere from two weeks to six months so you have enough comparative data to really understand the best direction to take. A real advantage, however — other than the low cost involved — is that you can examine the results at any time during the process. This will give you an indication of the changes you may need to implement. You can use this information to work on your site strategy while you wait for final website performance testing outcomes. Free online sites such as Google Website Optimizer use the same method.

As specialists in the digital marketing field, we advise customers regularly on how to get the most out of testing so they ultimately get the most out of their site. Our most important advice: make sure you implement website performance testing properly.

If you have the budget, get advice from experts who can help you measure your outcomes better, interpret the results and define new steps to take in the process of optimising your website’s UI. While using a simple process like A/B testing can produce great results, we advise employing a combination of user acceptance testing methods to get the best results. Start your website development process by interacting with your intended audience through consumer focus groups, and once development is complete, continue to undertake website performance testing and update your site regularly.

Technology and competition both change rapidly, so ensuring your site is regularly updated and tested can mean the difference between high conversion rates and a page that simply looks nice.

A poor site that is difficult to use or too complex will deter users before they even get to see what you are offering. User testing your site before launching or implementing major changes is vital to site success.

For more information about testing your website’s performance, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.

Better Online Experiences™