Posts tagged conversion
4 Best Practices For User Testing Your Website

So you've built out a new website or landing page, and you're excited to show it to the world. Your colleagues, friends, and family think that your new creation is awesome - and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You're thinking that you might be ready to launch..

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DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER WITHOUT USER TESTING!

Here at Delegator, we preach the gospel of thorough and unbiased user testing. In fact, we have distilled our approach to using a singular partner (most of the time) that we really enjoy working with, because they have a great platform: UserTesting.com.

Simply signing up for their service, however, isn't enough to get you the actionable data you need to properly optimize your new site.

Here are four best practices that will allow you to user test efficiently and effectively:

Get involved in, first hand, user testing videos AND analysis sessions:

User testing is one of the most important pre-launch protocols.  If you are a decision maker, there is no substitute for first hand consumption of user testing content.  If you pass the task off through multiple degrees of separation, you are opening yourself up to multiple layers of bias. Instead, consume the user tests first hand to see for yourself EXACTLY how people interact with your site.

Do not make definitive conclusions based on just a couple of user tests:

Although you may feel that a random user test is providing you with a goldmine of actionable data, temper your eagerness to make changes with the understanding that one or two tests are not statistically significant relative to hundreds of site visitors.  If multiple users tests start revealing similar faults or potential enhancements, AND your team agrees with said faults, you should probably feel safe making that change.

Find the right balance between instruction specificity and freedom:

Unless you want your user tester to be floundering around the site with no clear direction, be specific in dictating to the tester who they are, and what their goal is.  Don't, however, instruct them on every step they need to take to reach the goal.  You want your user tester to best emulate your actual customers.  You, unfortunately, won't be able to instruct each customer on how to use your website step by step, so take that into account during your UserTesting.com session setup.

Use the convenient annotations feature of UserTesting.com for efficient & effective sharing:

You'll want to share the user testing intel with your team members.  Since the tests are delivered in the form of a narrated video and can often be quite long, take a pass through the videos and annotate the important revelations.  This way, other team members can quickly scan the video and watch the important parts where your tester might be stumbling, or (hopefully) completing tasks with ease.

Delegator is an official partner of UserTesting.com and can help you set your account up,  work through your testing, and analyze the tests to form actionable recommendations.  Contact us here if you would like to learn more!

10 Interesting Ecommerce Facts & Trends

The ecommerce industry has become a major part of worldwide consumerism and is now baked into popular culture and daily life.  Companies like Amazon and Ebay are household names and often the first choice when something - anything - needs to be purchased.

Estimates place worldwide ecommerce sales at $1 trillion in 2012, a 26% increase from the previous year.

With ecommerce representing such a massive money-making opportunity with relatively few barriers to entry, it is no surprise that this industry experiences more disruption than many others - often leading to wild swings in consumer trends.

Here are 10 interesting facts and trends about ecommerce that you may not currently know:

  1.  Pizza Hut was one of the first major brands to experiment with online commerce, starting in 1994.Pizza Hut - Welcome to PizzaNet!
  2. Ecommerce is predicted to represent 10% of all US retail by 2017.
  3. North Dakota, Connecticut, and Alaska lead all US states in ecommerce sales per capita.
  4. India is home to the fastest growing ecommerce market, and France is experiencing the slowest growth.
  5. 80% of the online population has used the internet to make a purchase, and 50% of the online population has purchased online more than once.
  6. 'Apparel and Accessories' is the fastest growing ecommerce sector of the 9 major categories.
  7. Although it launched in 1995, Amazon wasn’t able to turn a profit until 2003.Amazon's First Gateway Page
  8. 26% of all products added to cart are abandoned and never purchased.
  9. 44% of smartphone users admitted to “show-rooming” - They browsed products in brick-and-mortar stores, picked what they liked, then purchased online.
  10. During the third quarter of 2012, $4,423 was transacted via Paypal, per second.

Sources: 

The Science of Digital Landscapes

Calm down, reader. We're not telling you to go out and buy goggles and an Erlenmeyer flask (but you can if that makes you feel fancy). The science of digital landscapes is grounded in one simple method: testing. As elusive as website testing may seem, it's a method with important foundational principles.

A/B Testing

Maybe you've known for years that your company should be testing its webpages, but you don't know where to start. Some testing tools that are marketed as easy-to-use quickly turn complicated, and sometimes they don't allow the full spectrum of testing that you're looking for. In our experience as a digital marketing agency, platforms for testing are ever-evolving, but throughout our years of testing we've established some staple principles and approaches that anyone looking to improve their digital presence should follow.

1. Annotate Everything

Even if you don't know what to do with Google Analytics data, annotations are a crucial piece to both effective testing and keeping track of your website history. If you ever think, "Should I annotate this?" the answer is usually, "Yes." We often dig into old data looking for trends and would never be able to identify what kicked traffic up or down without a stream of relevant annotations. Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 6.40.38 PM

2. Measure Results

With annotations in place, all you really have left is interpreting the data between and through these annotations. Figuring out what's really going on with your site and attributing that to a cause will continue the beautiful cycle of testing. Maybe you changed the color of a button, and suddenly navigation to the page referred from the button click drops off. This information is just enough to start back at square one and try a different approach.

3. Form Realistic Hypotheses

Sometimes it's hard to know what to test. As much as possible, let the data dictate what you test. Look for data drop-offs and low-engagement page elements. Rework huge eyesores, like walls of text and jarring readability roadblocks. Once you're in the regular practice of measuring results, you'll find yourself quickly collecting a pool of what to test and how to test it.

As a general rule, avoid forming hypotheses with "best practices." Your site users are your own, and they don't belong to A-list marketer/blogger Joe Schmo who wrote that post about always including purple unicorns in the footer. Nothing can inform what's best for your site like your data does.

4. Use only SIGNIFICANT DATA

"How long should we test this?" I dub this the question of the year, every year. My response: "Until the data is statistically significant enough to draw a conclusion."

Not everyone is a statistician. That's okay. Just make sure you've got one on hand to check your conclusions. Interpreting data is not necessarily easy, so it's best to leave any complicated analysis to the ones who can measure statistical significance.

5. Accept When You're Wrong

Hypotheses are going to be wrong. Many tests will show you that you didn't have it all figured out after all. Don't let this make you feel like a failure, or like you don't know your market well enough. There are too many factors outside of your control for you to always have a handle on how things should pan out. Being wrong in your assumption will ultimately land you on what does work. Let testing teach you about your audience. Relationships are hard!

We at Delegator know as well, if not better, than anyone else how difficult the entire testing process can be. We try our best to stick closely to these core principles and attitudes that we know will carry us through the frustrations, and, consequently, we land on many victories. Go ahead and make some adjustments. Approaching website improvements scientifically should alleviate some fears and uncertainty, and it's best to remember that your website can ALWAYS be improved, no matter how great you may think it is. Just ask the data.