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Optimise to Win, Pt 10: The Test-Improve Cycle – Never stop getting better!

Note: this is the tenth of our multi-part Optimise to Win series, where we show you how the best businesses get more conversions than their competition.

So, you’ve finally completed the marathon of getting your new website up and running! But now I’m here to inform you:

Launching the website is only the beginning of the mission.

Let’s say your site was built with exhaustive research about your target audience, competitors, usability for your features, and an eye for detail. It was coded in just the right way, SEO-friendly, performant, and made to be easy to use.

Even if your site was planned & executed perfectly, you need to test & make improvements.

There are always things you don’t know until you’ve done them. Perhaps you thought customers would like product X, but maybe they’d like product Y better — you’ll never know until you set up controlled testing & implement gradual improvement.

Types of Testing & Hypotheses to Test

  1. Can all of my users find all the products they’re looking for quickly and efficiently?
  2. Can all users figure out how to initiate checkout?
  3. Is the checkout process confusing to anyone?
  4. Does every user understand what to enter into each form field?
  5. Can users find “X” on my site in a reasonable time?
  6. Are users finding it easy to read all of my content?

You can test usability by watching real users perform a task on your website, observing the four foundations of user testing:

  1. Efficiency – the tester measures how much time and how many steps are required for the user to complete basic tasks (find a product, add it to the cart, read the feedback and ratings, ask questions, buy the product. These would be basic tasks for a mobile app such as Amazon.
  2. Accuracy – how many mistakes do users make when trying to perform these tasks and how fatal are the mistakes? Sometimes, with the right information, the mistake is recoverable. 
  3. Recall – after a period of non-use, how much does a person remember about the interface and the browsing process?
  4. Emotional response – how does the user feel about the tasks he had to complete? Was the person stressed or confident, and would the user recommend the product to a friend?

Ask the user to narrate what they are thinking and doing while they perform the task in as stress-free of an environment as possible. Don’t tell them this is your site – they need to be freed of any desire to hold back bad news.

  1. Is my content interesting to my target audience?
  2. Can I improve the text on my Calls to Action?
  3. Are my headlines engaging?
  4. Is anyone actually reading the content?
  5. Does this content show my expertise?
  6. Can users scan content & still get the important parts?
  7. Do my product descriptions inspire purchase?
  8. Am I getting good SEO rankings from this page for its keywords?
  9. Is anyone linking to this page as an example of expert or good content?
  10. Can my value proposition be made clearer?

You can test differences in copy & content using A/B Split Testing. We utilise a service called Optimizely, which is great for copy changes, as it keeps track of conversions for each page with each option presented to users.

Design & Structure
  1. Does this colour scheme work better than my original one?
  2. Would this page be improved by adding a personal image?
  3. Is the typography readable and enjoyable to all users?
  4. Are there design elements that are confusing to users?
  5. Are my Calls to Action clear and outstanding enough?
  6. Are my competitors using any effective design elements that I can learn from?
  7. Can I make my most important content clearer?

Once again, A/B Split Testing is the easiest & most effective way to test design changes. You will be able to see which design approaches result in higher conversion rates.

  1. Is “X” function working for all users?
  2. Do all users understand what this functionality is & does?
  3. How can I make this functionality more intuitive?
  4. Do users actually engage with this function, and if so, how often?
  5. Is this functionality discoverable to new users?
  6. Are all devices supported with this functionality?
  7. Can this function be made to perform better on older/smaller devices?

Based on multi-device testing and user observation testing, you can develop specific test cases which you can perform one by one, fixing & improving based on your results.

For more specifics, take a look at this helpful testing infographic.

Redfox Media improves on initial designs by testing, improving, and iterating whenever possible. Our clients appreciate that their websites keep getting measurably better results over time!

Sources: How to approach usability testing

For more, check out our other Optimise to Win posts:

At Redfox Media, we employ all of these methods and strategies for clients in our Online Accelerator program. Enquire now to discuss how we can help your business, and get a FREE SEO report!

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