10.29.15

Website User Testing – It’ll Rock your World

BY MARK MITTON

One year ago, we started regularly incorporating Website User Testing into our client engagements. It’s changed everything.

Website User Testing – It’ll Rock your World

When you have users in your target audience engage with your website, and you clearly see where they struggle and get frustrated, it creates an urgency and clarity around fixing your website now and not waiting for a major site redo months or years down the line.

Historically, companies tend to redo their website every three or so years, and there certainly is a time and a place for blowing up your site and starting from scratch. But why wait three years? For most of the companies we work with, outside of their brand, their website is their most important marketing asset. Just adding brochures or a press release isn’t enough. Through analytics and user testing, you can identify specific portions of your website to improve. And, it can be fun. The impact you will see is immediate.

Essentially, analytics, A/B testing, and user testing allow you to introduce the “agile” philosophy to your website. No longer do you wait many months or years to fix everything at once with your website. You can now target specific opportunities to improve your site. We typically engage in 3-4 month “website sprints” with our customers. We identify website “leakages” and “opportunities” then we develop a plan to address issues based on data and user testing input so that we have high confidence that our changes will actually address the issue. We make the changes, we monitor results, then we start all over again. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Let me share an example. We worked with one of our clients to create what we thought would be a really cool helpful configurator tool. The idea was that a potential client would use it, then they could submit the results as a lead. Well, usage on the tool was poor. So, we included it in our round of user testing. What we found was users were confused about some of the inputs and found the help text to be very unhelpful so they were abandoning it. So, we fixed the input fields and help text, along with other identified needed fixes in our next “sprint.”

If you are serious about making your website successful, you have to take a big dose of humility and recognize that users are tough to predict. They are quirky. They do what they want. And, they want what they want. User testing isn’t hard, and is probably much less expensive than you expect. The data shows that you only have to test up to five users to uncover 80% of your usability issues.

So, welcome to the agile website world. The time to update your website is all the time. It’s fun, and it works.

Mark Mitton
written by MARK MITTON

Mark Mitton is the president of Carbon8, bringing his passion for creative, strategic branding and deep experience in digital marketing to Carbon8 clients (and employees!). Mark founded Carbon8 with the knowledge that, in today’s digital age, beautiful creative and smart strategy must be supported by a strong programming team.

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