26 October 2012 - 11:09am | by Whatusersdo

User experience testing and the bottom line

User experience testing and the bottom lineUser experience testing and the bottom line

At WhatUsersDo, we’re about unearthing the WHY of user behaviour, so that web teams can look beyond their analytical reports and really understand their users. Usability or UX testing is the process by which we reveal user behaviour, which impacts conversion and the bottom-line.

Formerly this process took place infrequently and only during a project – at best this was twice a year. This has now changed and testing occurs at every stage of the development/design life-cycle. It is now commonplace for site builders to research how users respond to competing offerings, test throughout the design phase and build with UX insight in mind.

Most of our clients use WhatUsersDo to not only test their own live website, but also to get user insight into:
Competitors’ websites.
Pre-release websites and prototypes (e.g. Axure).
Observe people naturally searching for products, starting at Google.
Running card-sorting and tree tests.
Content testing of landing pages, email marketing and other comms.

AppliancesOnline.co.uk
Appliances Online made improvements to its product pages that led to a 9.5% jump in sales. With the help of videos showing users interacting with the product pages, the retailer was able to both identify improvements, and check that they had the desired effect. 

After commissioning 125 user-testing videos from WhatUserDo a lot of work went into identifying potential improvements. Although this was a lot of video, it did give the retailer a broad range of opinion to inform decision-making. 

According to Matthew Lawson, Head of conversion at Appliances Online: 

“I introduced user-centered design, but I had to get the business bought into it. So I did this by buying 125 videos from WhatUsersDo, where you set a task for a customer to go away onto your site and try and make a purchase.

“This gave us 250 hours of footage, which was too much content to watch through. So I used crowd sourcing... We gave five videos to each senior manager including the CEO and this gave us insight into what we needed to change from our proposition, the size of the images to where we put the buy button and it actually gave our customers a voice which went directly to the managers.”

The company used the videos in conjunction with other tools, such as Click Tale, (which provides heatmaps) showing which elements of product pages users were interacting with the most. 

Thanks to this insight, Appliances Online uncovered several issues with its product pages. For example, 70% said that pages were too busy, 17% said service information needed to be clearer, while 13% thought the video experience could be improved. 

Changes Made to the Product Pages
1. The buy button
Clear calls to action are important, and factors such as size, colour and context on the page can make them more or less visible. 

In this case, the buy button was easily lost in the background of the page. The buy button was moved above the fold instead of having distracting banners at the top of the page. The colour of the buy button was also changed to green to stand out more, while the text ‘add to basket’ made more descriptive.

2. Video
The user experience when attempting to research a product review was another factor that was improved.

Videos opened in a pop-up screen and took too long to load, something, which understandably annoyed most testers. The solution was to embed the video into the product pages, which was less interruptive. Consumers could also scan up and down the page looking at reviews and product specifications, whilst the video stayed still.

3. Product descriptions
The auto-generated standard manufacturer product descriptions were unsatisfactory, and failed to really sell the features of products.

To solve this problem, the retailer now uses creative copywriters to create unique product descriptions, setting out the USPs in a more human tone. 

In addition, this unique copy was much better from an SEO perspective. Other online retailers were just using the same standard product descriptions giving Appliances Online a competitive advantage in search results. 

The results
The changes clearly worked, and the stats proved it. Appliances Online increased its sales by 9.5%, while 37% more visitors viewed the product videos. As viewers of these videos are 57% more likely to add items to the basket, this was a big improvement. 

In addition, the number of reviews left by customers increased by 11%, while there was a 33% reduction in calls about delivery, as the information was more clearly visible on the product page.

According to Online Development Consultant Nicole Prior, the process doesn’t stop there:

“User-centric design is a continual process. Now the journey has completed its first cycle, it’s time to re-test, re-design and re-optimise. 

“Post project user videos are vital. Not just to confirm the changes you’ve made were the right decisions, but also to test the journey has not been damaged and to kick start the next round of analysis.”

Lee Duddell
Founder & Head of UX
WhatUsersDo

WhatUsersDo
Tel: 0845 3024783
Email: marketing@whatusersdo.com
Web: www.whatusersdo.com
Twitter: @whatusersdo

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