What is User Experience Testing?

Why listening to your users is vital to improving your UX

User Experience Testing (also referred to as UX testing, or User testing) is the process of learning how your users engage with your digital product or service, both in terms of what they do and why they do it.

There are many ways User Testing can be carried out. Typically the process will involve watching and listening to real users (participants) perform prescribed tasks to determine how real world users behave when using your product or service. By observing and analysing how the participant interacts, as well as listening to their feedback, you can start to collect actionable insights into how you can improve the user experience of your products or services.

Why do User Experience Testing?

User Experience, or UX, encompasses everything that happens to users of your website, from the initial click, until they leave your site. As well as the user interface, it includes everything your user sees, hears and does in response to your website or app, as well as how they respond emotionally to it.

2016 Econsultancy research discovered that User Experience, or Customer Experience, was ranked the ‘single most exciting opportunity’ over content marketing, social, personalisation and mobile for B2C businesses.

It also found that such business’ aims, over the next five years, centred around providing a better customer experience to what their competitor could provide, with 47% of B2C businesses naming this their primary concern. With more and more businesses competing for our attention, paying heed to UX is a crucial factor in your site’s success.

Why is User Experience Testing important?

Testing all aspects of your users’ interaction with your business online is what has made behemoths like Google, Twitter and Amazon so successful. The User Experience equates to customer satisfaction levels, and it is all the more sensitive online – unlike on your local high street, your customer can choose to visit your competitor in seconds, with only a couple of clicks – therefore ensuring their experience is optimal is key.

If your site is difficult to interact with, slow, or buggy, they will simply redirect their business to your competitor. As well as making (or losing) you money, a good UX:

  • Helps you figure out your business’ targets. Knowing your company goals helps to prioritise your UX. The strategy to improve your users’ experience must align with your company aspirations.
  • Helps you to ascertain your precise target audience. Working out the primary groups which utilise your site and appraising their backgrounds, demographic details and goals allow you to better appraise what you want and how to give it to them.
  • Helps you create valid, targeted content. Knowing what it is your audience want leads you to be able to deliver the content they are coming to your site for.
  • Helps save money you might waste through non-specific targeting. Knowing your customer means you can create the right content for them, and an attractive service which ensures they won’t bounce off your page to a competitor.

UX testing and tools

Good UX is crucial – but how can you know where your own site’s UX stands? If you’ve seen bounce rates soar and conversion rates crash, what can you do? Evaluating UX starts with research and analysis – you need to know what’s working and what isn’t.

Next up come tools which assess your site design. These are most efficacious before your site goes live. All the best sites undergo A/B testing – that’s small tweaks brought about by split testing.  Check out these UX analysis tools for where to begin.

A user’s interaction with your website relies on many different considerations and watching the ways in which the user interacts with your website, collecting data on these interactions and then A/B split testing with mock-ups will enable you to utilise that valuable User Experience to maximise the success of your site.

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