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How to Test User Experience and Maximize your ROI

How to Test User Experience and Maximize your ROI

Emily Caldwell, Nov 13, 2018

Testing is the unsung hero of marketing. Sure, it's not glamorous but making the effort to consistently test your marketing efforts really pays off. Different methods of testing can tell you certain things about how a webpage or campaign is performing. User experience, or UX for short, is a broad term that encompasses all aspects of the user's experience when interacting with your content, including aesthetics. This article will go over some different kinds of UX testing methods, what they can tell you, and what you can do with that data.

Usability testing

Usability testing is goal-focused and measures if your webpage is, well, usable. Technology is growing at a rapid pace. Usability is becoming more and more crucial to user experience. You don't want to be funneling traffic to a page that is confusing and cumbersome for the user; that would be detrimental to your campaign–and in a larger sense, your brand. Here's a rundown of the different methods that can measure usability:  

  • Hallway/Guerilla: This method requires some finesse. It involves asking random strangers to answer survey questions about your product or website and give feedback. You may need to add an incentive in order for this testing to work for you. You can host your survey on one of the thousand survey sites that exist OR you can flag down actual passers-by in order to pick their brains. This method ensures you are getting a random assortment of people, which can be hard to do in the bubble of your own team.
  • Moderated: This method is similar to a focus group. Moderated usability testing consists of some type of facilitator hosting a meeting with actual users to gather feedback. A script is often used, written for the sole purpose of evaluating user experience. Using a script also ensures that the facilitator doesn't skew the members of the moderated group. This method has a big advantage over the other methods of testing: interacting with participants makes it easy for the facilitator to ask questions if you don't understand their feedback or otherwise elaborate if they make a point you hadn't thought of. This real-time interaction is so valuable.
  • Unmoderated remote usability testing: This method is the same as the above method, but it occurs without a moderator. The unmoderated method employs usability testing tools offered online. These tools still utilize real users, but remotely. The benefits of using this method are that it's quick and inexpensive. One drawback is that these tools aren't often in the USA so some details may be lost on the test users, which could skew your data if you primarily have a domestic audience.

Logic Testing

A great user experience should be seamless, and a huge component of that is the logic and navigation of a webpage. Almost everyone in 2018 is used to navigating the digital world. We all have certain expectations of how a site should behave, and your page should not deviate from that expectation. Logic testing smoothes out the wrinkles and ensures that users are able to interact with your content flawlessly. Here are some examples of how you can test logic:

  • Card Sorting: Gather some test users. Feel free to do this activity as a part of a usability survey with the methods outlined in the previous section. The hardest part of testing is gathering users, after all. Card sorting ensures that your navigation and menus are well organized and easy to follow. To start, create some cards (digital or analog) with actions a user can take and destinations they can be funneled to on them. Then have your test group sort them into logical categories. Then ask them to name the group. This should line up with how your site navigation is arranged. If not—you have some work to do!
  • Tree Testing: This method of testing is pretty straightforward and all about having content where it should be. Tree testing involves having users find a specific item on your page or from an email without any instructions. If they find it easily—well done! The hierarchy of information is as it should be. If not, you may need to re-think your link paths, CTAs and other elements.

Design Testing

Good design is crucial to any user's experience. It's not just an added benefit; a well-designed site or landing page can push a user away or help them make the decision to buy. Testing your design (and testing it again) is the best way to make sure that your content stacks up against the competitions and engages users. Here are a few ways to test your design:

  • A/B Testing: A/B testing consists of creating two different versions of your page (or email): the first functions as a control and the second has more significant changes. You then conduct an experiment between the two versions by showing each version to users at random. The version in which the users perform whatever conversion goal you've set better than the other version, is the one you know is more effective. The benefits of A/B testing is that you get quick results and the changes are easy to implement. The drawback to A/B testing is that the reasons for conversion rate differences are often murky. You know which page does better, but not why.
  • Multivariate Testing: Multivariate testing consists of making one main control page and a number of separate pages with minor but specific differences. The benefits of multivariate testing is that you will know what specific changes are helping or hindering your conversion rate. The drawback to this method is that it takes longer and you may see multiple versions of your page performing at the same rate, which makes making decisions harder.
  • Click Maps: This method of testing requires additional tracking software if you don't have it included in your CRM as we do with HubSpot (yay!) Click maps are created by literally mapping the clicks that users take when they visit your page. What do they click first? What do most click on? What do most people ignore? Click maps can tell you if you need to alter your design to draw more attention to something or vice versa.
  • Blur Tests: This test is similar to making a click map but is much lower tech. This test consists of blurring the screen a bit (or squinting your eyes!) to see if the most important elements stick out. If you can't identify them, even when blurred, you may need to revisit your design.

Muzli magazine recently featured this great example of a UX Design case study. By testing pain points, users had with a particular cinema app, this designer was able to propose design solutions that would streamline the ticket buying process for the end-user. This case study really highlights the importance of user experience when designing. Building an app (or anything else, really) that no one can use isn't helping anyone.

UX Testing increases ROI of marketing spend

Testing user experience is an essential marketing practice. Think of UX testing as your lodestar. The results you can glean from testing need to guide your efforts and steer you in the right direction. The process of testing can seem arduous, but stick with it. Develop a habit of testing everything multiple times. USE the data you get from your testing and take action based on the results. HubSpot puts it best:

By testing the usability of their product or website with a representative group of their users or customers, UX researchers can determine if their actual users can easily and intuitively use their product or website. Identifying and fixing these early issues saves the company both time and money: developers don’t have to overhaul the code of a poorly designed product that’s already built, and the product team is more likely to release it on schedule.

So there you have it. UX testing is useful all around and, if it's not already, should be an integral part of your marketing efforts.

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