Usability Testing – Making Your Website Easier to Use

Written by Karl Binder on February 13, 2011

Just when you think you’ve made something idiot proof, someone goes and builds a better idiot. We know your visitors aren’t idiots, but if
you make your site so a 5 year old can use it then your visitors will be able to do so without even thinking about it.

You already know how to use your site, so do the people who built it, but what about your visitors?Small stumbling blocks in the journey
through your site can cost you a fortune in missed opportunities and you and your designers may not be able to see the wood for the trees.

Usability testing should be done early, before you launch and certainly before you start spending money promoting it. Usability
studies needn’t be expensive, they’re no longer the preserve of the big boys, getting real life people who weren’t involved in building
your site to test it for you is the best money you will ever spend.

Multivariate Testing

Picture the scenario; your marketing people have written a new slogan, your web designer has made a new layout and your graphics guys have
designed a new logo. Your MD likes the logo but hates the copy, your sales Director loves the copy but hates the layout and you love the
layout but hate the logo.

You could argue these points for ever, you could ask more people in your organisation, you could employ consultants to decide for you, you could flip a coin or ask Paul the psychic octopus.

And you would probably still get it wrong.

The best, simplest and cheapest way to make the decision is to test. In the scenario above, you have two logos, two layouts and two
slogans. If you were to make every possible combination you have eight different versions of the page – 2 x 2 x 2 = 8.

Multivariate testing lets you test each version of the page on real life customers – without them even knowing you’re testing.

Multivariate testing generates all the possible versions of your page, displays them randomly to each visitor and measures the conversion
rate for each one. Not only that, it tells you which area – logo,slogan or layout – has the biggest effect on conversion.

You get to make the decision based on real results from your visitors, not on the personal opinions and vested interests of individuals.
Clever huh?