Archives For testing

I’ve talked about testing testing testing before. Usability testing is so easy to do these days that there is no excuse not to do it.

A/B Testing for conversion rates is a great way to see if simple iterations of your current site can make a big impact on results.

Check out this infographic on testing contact forms that you typically put on squeeze pages and other offer / registration form pages.

testing to optimize website form conversion rates

 

There’s 3 Reasons To Optimize Your Contact Forms:

  1. You don’t use all of the data fields you collect.  Nope, think hard about why you need to know each and every field you ask for.  Because every additional field will limit your ability to get the maximum participation from site visitors.  You’re asking them to just walk away.
  2. Simple changes can drastically change how much effort you have to put into promoting and advertising your offers.  If you engage in paid promotional activities, conversion rates can radically change the ROI on your investment.  In fact, you might have enough traffic as it is.  You just need to change the user experience when they get to your site.
  3. Less data collected means less data to manage.  Make it easier on yourself and manipulate less uncecessary profile data.

 

One question that arises for anyone that pushes back or hesitates on testing for optimized response rates: Would you rather have more people in a permission-based relationship (so you can ask for more profile data as you go, as you need it) with your organization, or have drastically less (over 100% less in some cases!) people that you know about at all.

Is this infographic compelling enough to get you to reconsider just how much information you really need to ask for?  Say “Yes” in the comments if you see the benefits of testing this stuff!

In the last post, I shared a useability testing secret everybody who has a website should know about.

The quick answer to the question of how much testing you should do is . . . “5 is the magic number.”

The inevitable question now is – how do you go about actually testing the 5 users you can easily round up in a flash?

There are a couple of options, but one of the services I know about and have used is www.openhallway.com — in short, it’s a site that lets you assign a task to a user, who then goes through your site and narrates what they are thinking and doing the entire time so that OpenHallway.com can record the screen, mouse movements and the users’ narration for later review.

(TryMyUI.com is another service that does similar kinds of screen-recording of user sessions with your site.)

OpenHallway.com was birthed from the same idea as what Jakob Nielsen is promoting:

A hallway usability test is where you grab the next person that passes by in the hallway and force them to try to use the code you just wrote. If you do this to five people, you will learn 95% of what there is to learn about usability problems in your code.

Basically, all you have to do is go out and recruit 5 people to test your website.  This should be a no brainer — get on Facebook, Twitter, Email, or literally, go down the hallway and ask the next 5 people you see.

The next part is the fun part. . . Continue Reading…

Whenever an organization sets out to tinker with the website to improve it, or even go for the complete revamping of the site, it’s based on some feedback that the site isn’t doing what is intending to do.  This can be based on internal feedback, implicit or explicit comments from site visitors, a gut feeling that the site can communicate better, or the plain facts that your site conversion goals aren’t happening.

So what happens next?  Most often than not, a group of people go into meetings and set about reconfiguring the site structure, improve navigation, updating the aesthetics to reflect current Web 2.0 and beyond trends, and revising the content.   Hopefully they do it in a way that is strategic in nature or bring in someone that can help with that.

But whatever the process, when you finally flip the switch, only the actual usage by site visitors can tell you whether you succeeded or not.

Here’s the part where most groups drop the ball.  One of the most critical milestones in site development happens right here — not before when you’re whiteboarding the site and its contents.  This is where you need to do some usability testing.   Qualitative and quantitative research will guide you on what works and what doesn’t.

But because focus groups and user testing seems so sophisticated and enigmatic, most site owners don’t ever go through with the steps that can radically impact how your message is received by the visitors coming to your site.  The superficial pushback on this area seems to be in two immediate areas beyond the lack of comfort / knowledge for how to preceed:

(1) We don’t have money for that!  Testing dozens and dozens of people would cost more than we can afford.

(2) We don’t have the time for rounds of user testing.  That would delay our website project too much, or we have so much other stuff to do now that we’ve finished the website revamping.

But here’s the kicker, it doesn’t have to be expensive nor time-consuming to get the critical feedback you need to communicate better with your visitors.

And here is why 5 is the magic number in useability testing:

According to Jakob Neilson, the usability guru (seriously, you should check out his site, www.useit.com), the ideal scenario usually warrants 76 users for comprehensive quantitative testing that addresses the typical outliers that come through.  And a more manageable 15 users need to be tested in order to get at all the qualitative usability issues in the design of a site.

But in reality, the magic number is really 5.  That’s it.  FIVE people. . . Continue Reading…