Magento | Design & UX
How usability testing boosts sales
Understanding customer behaviour and making recommendations
One of the most interesting parts of any software project is the investigative process, the part where we carry out research to identify customers’ behaviour on the client’s current website. This is known as usability testing and results inform the recommendations we make for improvements.
Observing how customers move through a website and watching their reactions enables us to build an accurate picture of any problems they might face, analyse patterns of behaviour and make positive recommendations for change. All this is to ultimately encourage customers to buy, download, make a booking or whatever activity the client’s end goal is, and it can be absolutely fascinating!
How to carry out usability testing
It starts with writing a user testing script, a set of questions you want to find the answers to. Agreeing on these with the client is an important initial step.
When writing tasks and asking for verbal responses, it’s important not to create leading questions which might influence their response, so getting the phrasing right is crucial.
To find people to take our test, we use the remote usability testing platform, whatusersdo - a flexible, convenient resource which has over 30,000 panel members available to answer. The platform allows us to write comprehensive user testing scripts as well as drill down for the most applicable participant type (i.e. our client’s ‘typical’ customer), using pre-screener questions.
When a participant lands on the relevant page, they access the testing script and answer open questions about their initial impressions of the website. It shouldn’t be surprising to learn how little users read content on a page when faced with a substantial user journey, something which their answers make evident. Once complete, we receive videos with audio of each individual usability test, ready for analysis.
We gain a lot of valuable insight when listening to the immediate verbal responses, but sometimes participants don’t realise they’re experiencing usability problems and just assume that’s how something should work. Luckily, our brilliant UX team is able to highlight these issues and note them down for review later on (top tip: here’s a great way to record your user testing feedback).
We always recommend having two team members watch the user tests to make sure that nothing is missed or interpreted differently. The team can then analyse the feedback, often finding some interesting patterns. It’s from here that we’re able to make recommendations which might influence customer behaviour - from simplifying a particularly fiddly process to redesigning a page so that specific features weren’t overlooked.
Example: where usability testing worked really well
Our long-time client, Smartdriverclub Insurance, set us the goal of increasing its click-to-sale rate. To achieve this, we carried out usability testing for which we chose participants who were frequent drivers.
Car insurance is tricky, as more than 90% of traffic arrives from a price comparison aggregator (i.e. Go.Compare) directly to the quote page. Building a deeper understanding of how customers use car insurance aggregators and their perception of telematics (black box) insurance proved a useful contribution to our research. We were able to gain insight into the decision-making process when choosing a suitable quote and make appropriate recommendations.
Smartdriverclub actioned most of the recommendations found in the usability testing report and bravely made some bigger business decisions to simplify the device onboarding process. By engaging in usability testing and listening to their potential customers, in under three months it recorded a click-to-sale increase of 14%, which more than justified the value of the project. This way of working is now something we undertake on a cyclical basis, allowing constant iterative changes to their platform, helping them to grow their business.
Could usability testing help you drive sales?
Short answer: yes. It is a rapid and insightful way to gain real-world customer feedback and often provides the evidence you might need to persuade key stakeholders to agree to a new web build. Usability testing is the tool which sheds light on any existing pain points and identifies where/why customers are bouncing off the site. With this information, we can collaboratively fix issues and create a bespoke e-commerce solution which sees your sales potentially sky-rocket.
Increasing your sales
If that sounds intriguing - and why wouldn’t it? - then get in touch. We’d love to talk through your ideas