User Experience Testing – The Heart of A/B Testing

Friday, 11 August, 2017

You are satisfied with your website. The traffic is great, the business smooth. But, that demon on your shoulder refuses to leave you alone, constantly reminding you that more optimisation won’t hurt. Is the devil right? Learn with us how to get rid of the testing devil.

A lot of experts from different fields will advise on what is essential for a successful business growth. But honestly, the only people you should listen to are your visitors. User experience testing is the only thing you always need to keep in mind. Well, how to get a clear image of what your users prefer? The solution you’re looking for is A/B testing.

user experience testing is the centre of A/B testing

Always turn to your users.

What is User Experience Testing?

User experience testing is the process of trying to understand user behaviour. What they do, why they do it, and how they interact with a product is analysed. Also known as UX Testing, it tries to find behavioural patterns of user interaction to improve their experience with a given product.

What is A/B Testing?

You have an original (A) and alternate (B) layout of an app or web page. The traffic is split to target both, and these two designs are compared to see which one gives better results. Despite the name, the experiment can be performed with as many elements as you desire.

When conducting A/B testing, two or more versions are simultaneously shown to randomly chosen users, and afterwards a statistical analysis shows which variation performed better. In the end, the better version is selected for real-time use.

A/B testing shows different users preferences.

Different users – different tastes.

User Experience Testing in Foundation of A/B Testing

As evident, in the centre of A/B testing is the user. In fact, every business should constantly keep in mind user experience testing. Who else determines the success of your business, if not them?

A/B testing allows you to act on time and ask focused questions about desired changes. The answers are valuable to you, so collecting data about the impact of those changes is crucial for furthering your marketing strategy.

By implementing A/B testing, you are sure that user experience testing is high-quality. Every change will generate positive results in the future because users approved it.

With A/B testing every change will bring positive outcome

With A/B testing, every change will bring a positive outcome.

Feel Free to Mix Apples and Oranges

The story goes like this – you take, for example, an app screen or a web page and create a second version of it. After that, a part of your traffic gets to see the original version, and the other part sees the modified version. The original version is called “the control”, and the modified “variation”.

The changes that are under the test can be minimal, or they can completely redesign a screen or a page. The principle is the same.

User experience testing starts when a tester creates and publishes the variation. It measures visitor engagement rate. All the data is collected in an analytics dashboard and analysed through a statistical engine. After analysing the data, you have a clear image whether those changes had a positive, negative, or null effect on visitor behaviour.

A/B testing mixes control and variation

Mix things up.

If You Can Modify It, You Can Test It

There is no restriction to what can be put to the test. In fact, whatever is subject to change is testable. Images, text, headlines, buttons, call-to-actions, colours, page layouts, trust indicators, media mentions, badges, etc.

Deciding what to examine first depends on your desired goals. For example, if you want to see what prevents visitors from signing up, you might check the length of the sign-up form, types of fields in the form, display of privacy policy, etc.

You can answer all of these concerns with A/B testing, one by one or all together. But, we recommend (and prefer) to test one element at a time. First, it is simpler, and second, it is more accurate. When your variation differs in only one element, then you can be sure what caused you trouble.

Just don’t get carried away and spend time on testing all the smallest details. Prioritise and focus on your user experience testing on something that is most important to your page and your further marketing strategy.

The Circle of A/B Testing

A/B testing is far from a simple process of creating a variation of your original and directing traffic to it. This process includes detailed planning and statistics. Patience is necessary because when A/B testing is conducted well, it can last for a few weeks.

Several phases make the A/B testing circle. Let’s see which are those.

Set Conversion Goals

You will measure improvements according to conversion goals. Your goals are metrics that you are using to see if the variation is more profitable than the original version. The essence lies not in testing just about anything; it is important to know exactly what is it that you want to A/B test. The goal can be different – from reducing bounce rates, increasing sales or conversion rates, or something completely tailored to your needs.

Create Hypothesis

Ask yourself “What do I want to improve with A/B testing?”. Create a list of hypothesis on why the variation version could outperform the current version. You need to have a firm and clear hypothesis because, without it, there is no clear goal to the testing. Once you have a list of hypothesis, prioritise them considering the difficulty of implementation and expected impact.

Incorporate Adjustments

After you determine what and why needs change, you can implement those changes you by using A/B software. Remember, it is not important how big those changes are. It can be only a simple change in colour of a button, a different featured image, headline or reordering the elements on the page. Many tools are making this whole process of changing visual elements a piece of cake. Just make sure that your experiment will work as expected.

Start Experiment

Release your control and variation and start user experience testing. Be patient. Don’t give up if some time passes until you collect the necessary amount of traffic and data. Remember, the longer you run the test, the more reliable the results. Observe, measure, and compare interactions of visitors to determine how each of variations perform.

Analyse Results

When you get significant statistics, and your test has been active for some time, you can end it. Analyse results asking few questions to yourself – did your variation perform better than control? Or did control end up more efficient than variation? Are your results connected to something else other than what you set out to test? Still, even after answering all of these questions, and reaching your goal, it is nowhere near the end. Push user experience testing further because it doesn’t mean that you have found the best possible variation of your original. If you test more, you have the potential gain even more.

Whether the winner is control or variation, the process of A/B testing always has its benefits. If the variation ends up better for user experience, apply what you have learned to other pages to further improve your results. But, if control seems to be better after all, just observe this as a valuable learning experience and start working on a new hypothesis.

Life circle of A/B testing

Respect life cycle of A/B testing, it guarantees success.

What tools to use for A/B testing?

It is a misconception that every testing process is difficult, technically demanding and exhausting. It doesn’t have to be if you are using proper tools. Let’s list some of them.

Conclusion

Today, many businesses are using A/B testing to reach their conversion goals. It is one of the most efficient and easiest techniques for optimisation as well as an excellent way to figure out the best marketing strategy for your future efforts.

Well-planned A/B testing will make a huge difference in your marketing efforts, and it will allow you to make more out of your existing traffic. Picking the most efficient elements and combining them in the ensemble will bring success and profit.

However, don’t expect results overnight. It is a long process which shouldn’t end before there is enough data. Take your time, run one test at a time to collect accurate results. But, prepare yourself to run a single test for a few weeks. In the end, it is always worth it.

The return on investment put into A/B testing can cause massive leaps in revenue because even small changes can bring significant increases in lead generation, sales, and revenue. User experience testing is a step closer towards success.

Ana Lozančić

Ana is a content Marketing specialist and blogger. She graduated in Faculty of humanities and social sciences. She enjoys learning and applying knowledge about marketing and social media, covering latest trends and topics about software development subjects.

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