Today’s sleek, fast-acting websites are a far cry from the clunky old sites we used to see. Product development didn’t always consider and cater to its audience, which led to websites that moved at a sloth’s pace and that were really hard to navigate.
Our experience of the Internet has evolved with its expansion, and thanks to both technological advances and companies who prioritize user experience (UX), today’s web is seamless - at least when it’s done right.
To keep up with the high web standards we expect today, businesses need to put some serious resources behind the UX of their website. Enterprises of any size need to sharpen up their sites, and their products, to cater to an already crowded market.
What is user experience testing?
Usability testing is your window into how well your website or product works.
User experience testing - often abbreviated to UX testing, or usability testing - is the process of testing the different parts of a website or product to find the smoothest and simplest way for them to work. It looks at how “usable” they are by getting real users to try it, observing them to see if they reach their goal and asking them throughout the process what they think.
It usually goes something like this: a prototype or working product is shown to users; they’re then given a scenario and asked to perform a number of tasks related to that scenario. The way they perform the tasks helps identify specific times or steps in the process where the user had trouble, known as “usability issues.” The feedback from multiple tests is then gathered and analyzed to find ways to improve the product.
It’s not all about the products, though - it’s how you sell them. Testing the different ways visitors interact with and navigate your website increases conversions and optimizes both your on-page content and your behind-the-scenes build.
How do you conduct a user experience test?
Each UX test will be different. At Trint, usability testing means using remote conferencing software like Zoom to reach our users. We ask these users questions as they interact with our platform, recording and transcribing the sessions as they happen to later analyze. The analysis helps us to improve the product.
UX testing for marketing takes many forms. In a brick-and-mortar store, you’d want to test how the height of your shelves affects sales, and if the lighting and temperature in store keeps people coming back. Believe it or not, even the color of price tags is important to the user experience.
Now apply this to your website. UX testing will investigate how effective your website’s navigation is by reviewing how well specific words, colors and other factors perform, for example. UX testing can - and should - be performed on all areas of your website to help you attract and retain quality customers.
Why is UX testing so important for your business?
Knowing what makes your customers tick is invaluable to your business. In addition to keeping your customers happy and loyal, great UX also helps you grow your customer base through word of mouth and recommendations. Happy customers spread the word to their friends and colleagues, bringing more people to your product. And by developing a deep understanding of your users through UX testing, you build a solid foundation of understanding between your customers and your business, which in turn helps identify new and innovative opportunities for your business to grow.
UX testing doesn’t just help you understand your existing customers; it can be an integral part of your market research process. Product testing is a vital market research activity to give you insight into how your product will and can be used by your target market, while helping you further define what that market actually is.
Getting it right with UX testing
It’s all about consistency when it comes to hitting the nail on the UX head - remember, it’s better to focus on “making it better” rather than “making it perfect.” Continually retesting your products and website elements will help you map out trends in customer behavior and make customer experience a priority, while at the same time nurturing brand loyalty. It’s always best to catch any issues early, so putting a focus on UX testing during the early stages of product development helps you build the best product for your market, giving the people what they really need.
When it comes down to it, nothing beats observing how users are using the real product or service “in the wild.” Real-world usage of a product is beneficial to both you and your customers: observing users with your product not only helps your business change and improves the product, but the ever-evolving product also shapes and evolves your users’ behaviors and attitudes.
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Susan Zhuang, UX Lead
Susan is interested in people, and making stuff, and making stuff for people. She has over 8 years of experience in user experience (UX) design, UX strategy and usability testing, having worked with startups to international corporations and every size company between.