When you first start testing, it’s easy to generate a lot of great new test ideas. Whether they come from qualitative data, customer insights and feedback, or the experience of a team member. After you’ve run a dozen, a hundred, or even a thousand tests, generating new ideas can become difficult. Organizing an effective brainstorming meeting that draws on the perspectives of a wide range of people and departments is one solution to this problem, but keeping a test queue full of high-quality ideas year after year requires real expertise.
Central to this expert approach is a dedication to understanding the user or customer. “I like to get into the mindset of the user,” says Mike Adams, Director of Optimization Engineering at Brooks Bell, “and navigate the site or purchase funnel from their point of view.” At the same time, he makes sure to approach test ideation from his own position of expertise. “I always look at the site code while using the site,” he adds. “It gives me an idea of the level of effort of testing on a certain page or element and sometimes generates unique ideas not immediately obvious on the page itself.”
The need to understand the website from the perspective of the user was reiterated by Bryan Prehodka, Director of Project Management at Brooks Bell. “I like to think about the entire experience of using the site from that perspective,” he explains. Sometimes, getting new test ideas is simply a matter of reviewing background information but more often, he says, it takes some unique research. Talking with an actual user or customer, he explains, always provides insight that he likely could not think of himself. “It’s all about the psychology,” he adds, “getting to know who these visitors are and what they need from the experience.”
“I do a lot of research to understand the business, the website, and the customer,” says Claire Schmitt, Director of Client Management at Brooks Bell. One recent client, she explains, had a user base of children aged six to 12. “It was very difficult to get into this mindset,” she says, “so I had to talk to a lot of kids to understand what they were interested in and what they looked for on the site.”
Another helpful approach, Claire commented, was drawing on the knowledge of a diverse group of people. At Brooks Bell, she says, “our test ideation strategy includes a cross-functional team, each with a different background and perspective.”
Sometimes, generating a new test idea isn’t exciting or complicated—just the result of a lot of hard work. “I like to do deep audits,” says Suzi Tripp, Director of Client Management at Brooks Bell. “Carefully assessing the whole-site experience reveals where the hang-ups are—and what opportunities for improvement are available.” Executing an audit like this requires a lot of experience, “and of course understanding the state of mind of the user helps too.”
Generating great new test ideas day after day, test after test can be a huge challenge. The solution, however, isn’t complicated. It just requires a dedication to understanding the user, and ability to understand an experience from the perspective of the customer, and enough experience to identify problems and opportunities.
Brooks Bell helps top brands profit from A/B testing, through end-to-end testing, personalization, and optimization services. We work with clients to effectively leverage data, creating a better understanding of customer segments and leading to more relevant digital customer experiences while maximizing ROI for optimization programs. Find out more about our services.