Conversion Rate Optimization, User Research

Usability testing and online marketing

Usability testing is a web technique that can be used for the optimization of conversions, as well. And because it gives essential input on how real and impartial users interact with the site, it’s a technique that should be used in a lot of key moments: when you want to launch a website, when you want to make changes on your website for your conversion goals, when you are preparing a campaign.

usability testing
It’s clear that if you have or you are building an e-commerce site, your purpose is to sell. But the first condition for selling is having a perfectly functioning system. And not only from a technical point of view. It also has to respect the patterns of communication between the visitors and the site.

Sometimes it isn’t sufficient to respect web standards, in order to obtain a simple, user friendly website. After all, your site needs to be unique, and the temptation to make it special can lead to an unusual navigation or a hard to read page structure. That’s why it’s important to see how the site is used and perceived by someone who has a fresh and unbiased view.

Testing for usability means recognizing the fact that communication and functionality come above aesthetics.

What you can test:

  • Visual design
  • Information design (writing and content understanding)
  • Structure

If you are interested in increasing your conversion rate, you can use usability testing to determine:

  • What are the weak points of the design?
  • Why are users clicking on a certain link?
  • Why are users navigating to a certain page?
  • What are the barriers on the site or where does the navigation get stuck?

If you introduce in your usability testing exactly those segments of audience that are in your e-commerce’s shop target, you will get results that are not only relevant for usability, but also for your business.  You will see if your target audience understands the navigation flow, if they find easily the important information and if the path to sale runs smoothly.

Important: If you are interested in this commercial side of usability testing, you can combine it with your analytics and tracking software. Configure a sales funnel and then monitor all its important stages. This way you can see clearly what pages are popular, where do people bounce and why.

Tips for testing the usability of your site:

  • Create a usability test with real users and watch how they engage with the site
  • Use A/B testing and multivariate testing to determine to which elements on the website visitors react better
  • Monitor your sales funnel and gather data
  • Use eye tracking and click maps to determine what points of the design gain more attention
  • Surveys are great qualitative method to find more things about how visitors and customers see the website

Users don’t like to dig for simple information. They will do that only if they are already very engaged or are doing a research. When in the first stage of exploring a website, they can only get immersed if they invest their attention on information and the satisfaction they get from it, not into the process of navigation itself and the barriers they face.

So do usability tests, find the best design and the way to engage more your visitors. The sales will come naturally afterwards.


Photo: Wil Kristin

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