Why usability testing makes business sense

With any web project, there always comes a point where it’s difficult to see and experience a website or app as a first-time user does.

User testing allows it to be placed in the hands of real-life users, who then work through realistic scenarios.

This helps identify any aspects of the layout, flow and copy that may confuse users.

Here, we share some reasons why we believe user testing is money well spent.

1) Increase revenue

One of the main aims of user testing is to increase site conversions.

The process can highlight why checkout conversions are low, and where abandonment rates in the checkout process are particularly high.

2) Save money

User testing helps to remove risks involved in web projects – problems can be discovered when it’s easy and cheap to fix them.

This is why it should be conducted as early and as regularly as possible, to quickly identify and solve issues as soon as they appear.

3) Craft better copy

User testing will pinpoint the labels and general language on a website that visitors struggle with.

Making changes to the microcopy (words and short phrases that guide users through processes such as filling out forms, registering for an account, etc) means they know where to click to perform certain actions, or what to expect when they navigate to another area of the site.

4) Meet expectations

Employing the ‘Think Out Loud’ method during user testing, where each user is asked what they are expecting to see when they click something, can be extremely revealing.

If their response is completely different to what the action will actually do, then some tweaks need to be made.

5) Avoid the assumption trap

It’s easy to make assumptions about how customers will use a particular website or app.

When the project is presented to real people who work in the industry it’s aimed at, there’s a good chance they will take a different view on what is being offered.

Product owners are often surprised by the reactions of people during user testing – they use the interface in unexpected ways, or may express strong opinions that impact the perception of the product.

6) Invest in a good concept

The first question to ask as soon as the user sees the website or app is: ‘what is this?’.

If they are unable to explain straight away what they are looking at, then the website’s concept is not being communicated effectively. This needs to be fixed before proceeding with further development.

7) Balance design with functionality

Providing users with scenarios helps to identify issues with the information architecture – are users struggling to find a key area or tool?

To get the best information possible from users during testing, the designer should stay neutral and not provide them with too much information.

This means minimal testing and careful observation of their body language.

For e-commerce sites, user testing can also provide insight into different shopping behaviours. This can reveal how critical information and calls to action should be positioned within a page hierarchy.

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