I’m sure you’ve realized by now that A/B testing tools are incredibly powerful at optimizing your online channels for higher conversions. Between the wide array of copy and design tests that you have to choose from, as well as testing offers and campaigns – there is no shortage of winning test strategies that can eventually improve your bottom line.
Perhaps the most unappreciated function of A/B testing tools available to us is the highly efficient ability to run real-time user experience tests that improve the usability of your site and, ultimately, result in increased conversions for your company.
Why it’s a great idea
Simply put, “user experience” entails the whole customer experience. Brand, direct mail, AdWords, website, shopping cart, and customer service– it’s all connected. When you improve just one element of the user experience, you begin to improve the overall experience. When we focus on improving elements such as navigation, widgets, or information architecture through A/B testing – we raise the bar overall. And since it’s all connected, an improved user experience will most likely lead to a consistent increase in conversions.
Make it worth your while
The top enterprise-level A/B testing tools have a bit of a learning curve, and can sometimes require a lot of resources. If you’ve committed to using a testing platform, it makes great business sense to leverage its capabilities as much as possible. Conducting strategic UX testing on a high-traffic site by way of a powerful testing platform will surely help maximize your ROI.
Let’s cut to the chase
Here are several of the primary advantages of real-time UX testing.
These tests are not conducted in a lab with mirrors and paper prototypes (although there certainly is a time and place for that – but more on that later). This is real-time testing on your existing sites with real results that can quickly affect revenue. High traffic sites can run tests with multiple challengers and sometimes declare winners within hours.
Perhaps the golden thread stitching design and A/B testing together is objectivity. These tests either win or lose. This leaves little opportunity for folks to argue about their favorite color or best practices.
In addition to immediate and measurable results, we are able to analyze the data and quickly uncover key learning’s about the audience, segments, and user preferences and trends.
Efficiency and ROI
These tests can be put together and launched quickly. The resulting data can be analyzed within days. This may have taken months to uncover through a traditional, qualitative user testing approach. And as mentioned, we are able to leverage even more value out of our already-paid-for testing tool. And remember – while we are learning, we are ultimately winning. The test will pay for itself.
Iterate to optimize
Testing allows us to iterate for full optimization. Testing can and should be continuous, allowing us to consistently learn, and improve the product, service, and customer experience.
Where to start
Get started by identifying areas on your site that you may suspect are troublesome for many. If you are not sure, dig into any existing data you may have that shows you where there is a high percentage of drop-off in your funnel. Or spend some time with customer service representatives (CSR) and let them tell you what most people complain about. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from a CSR. Also, consider implementing a heat map or an even better service such as ClickTale, which specializes in customer experience analytics, to give you real insight into how people are navigating your site. The more insight you have, the more you’ll have to work with.
Focus on key areas
Concentrate your efforts on the pages that matter the most to conversions such as checkout pages and product pages. Think through your primary navigational elements. Do they make sense? Is it possible that a segment or two of users would be confused? If so, how can it be improved? Draw these ideas up in a test get them launched quickly.
Examine what you have
Don’t assume that all of your existing functionality is necessary. We’ve found in past tests that some widgets and wizards that were meant to help people were actually confusing them. By removing these elements, you may find that you increase conversions!
Try your best to simplify the user flow through your site or funnel. Remember that everything is connected – so monitor your entire funnel as you test different areas.
And lastly, remember to iterate. When you find a winner—and you will—don’t stop there. Optimization is a process. You have the tools and the know-how to work towards a great user experience – so start testing!