“Usability is not a quality that can be spread out to cover a poor design like a layer of peanut butter.” – Clayton Lewis
When it comes to designing a product, this line will always hold. Creating an intuitive and quality design takes time because what may seem intuitive to one may not be to the other one. It becomes overwhelming for you because customers find every way you never thought of misusing or misinterpreting what’s on their plate.
According to Forbes, brands that focus on intentional and strategic user experience tend to increase conversion rates by as much as 400%. If your customers find it difficult to order from your online store or your product design is complex– you’re probably overlooking the power of usability testing.
One reason why usability testing is essential is to prevent the culmination of negative user thoughts. Irrespective of the product you design – an app, game, eCommerce store, website, or anything else, you’re not your user. You should design products for the customers and not what your client thinks the user wants.
The game here is simple. If your product is difficult to use, your customers are unlikely to return. Usability testing allows you to find issues in the design before your customer pinpoints. It also helps in improving customer retention and results in a loyal customer base.
Integrate testing as an ongoing process as it helps in building a streamlined product and lets you grasp what your users think.
UX is the way forward, and these four examples of usability testing will help you understand why it’s a necessity.
Prototype Usability Testing – Neilsen Norman Group
Using prototypes, designers and developers test interaction, flow, content, general usability, and feasibility before building the final product. A prototype is not a final product because all the functionalities do not work.
These are not pixel-perfect, but they reduce the cost by improving the design before the actual launch.
When the Neilsen Norman group wanted to revamp and redesign their website, they switched to prototype testing to get a better grasp of their target audience. With usability testing, they were able to assess the expectation of the customers about their brand.
The company gained crucial insights, primarily relating to visual design elements and the importance of credibility. They found that creating an appealing and minimal aesthetic website is the key to enhancing the credibility and creating a visual treat for the customers.
Interestingly, they discovered the best layout and way to format their homepage.
Through multiple level user testing, Neilsen took away the pressure of building the perfect design. They were able to make critical improvements in their website resulting in happy customers.
Lesson: At each round of prototype testing, ask the customer what they like or what they wish to see. Prototype testing is likely to attract both positive and critique feedback from the customers, which will help you modify the product before launch.
Mobile App Usability Testing – Evernote
Omni-channel presence is no longer an option. It has become the survival mantra. Your customers are interacting across multiple devices and expect a high level of fluidity and exceptional user experience. The ease of use of the mobile application is helping in bringing a paradigm shift towards making Smartphones the ultimate mode of our modern-day communication. This makes it imperative for brands to deliver great UX experience across multiple devices.
According to Statista, 113,000 Android mobile apps were released worldwide in May 2020. Hence, making flawless applications that work perfectly on multiple devices is a way to survive among the competitors.
When Evernote wanted to get customer feedback to enhance their product cycle and ensure consistency across multiple devices, they switched to usability testing. They followed a rigorous testing process to study the grey areas where the customers face difficulty when operating their mobile app.
Evernote watched the hand placement of the testers while physically swiping, tapping, and navigating through the app. The company could even watch the hand resting position of the testers. As the device type contributes to the user experience, fixing small ergonomic issues were critical for increasing customer satisfaction.
Due to the integrated and comprehensive usability testing, they saw an increase in their customer retention rate.
Lesson: Regular usability testing will help you gain insightful information and help you thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Website Usability Testing – Smart Driver Club
With the global digital population accelerating at an alarming rate, your customers probably use hundreds of websites and make instant judgments. From slow loading websites to difficult navigation, digital customers overlook anything which wastes their precious time.
It’s simple: If your website is not usable, it’s as good as being invisible.
With customers abandoning a website that doesn’t load within 3 seconds, creating a fast loading website is more important than providing a personalized online experience.
To fulfill the desires of the customers, you need to perform website usability testing. It will help you find the potential bottlenecks and loopholes, which prevents a customer from returning to your website. In the current digital landscape, websites which give importance to usability testing will exceed customer expectations. Put your best foot forward with a comprehensive testing plan.
Wenn Smartdriveclub wanted to increase the click to sale rate (CTS), they focused on website usability testing. It was essential to know the customer’s perception of the existing insurance quote engine. So, with just 5 testers, the company performed one round of usability testing. They keenly observed the reaction and the movement of the testers while browsing through their website. The company noted down the instinctive reaction of the testers on encountering a potential roadblock.
Based on their finding, changes were made to their website, like using a sidebar to show a brief explainer about the product and making onboarding of the customer simple.
Through the testing, Smartdriveclub also understood the small pain points of the customers like robotic validation messages, resulting in customer frustration. Instead of using ‘incorrect email,’ the robotic validation message now displays ‘Email must be a valid email.’
Lesson: Even small website usability issues are frustrating to the customer as it hampers their overall experience with the brand.
Remote Usability Testing – Movista
Unlike traditional usability testing wherein the tester and facilitator are in the same location, things work differently in remote usability testing. The tester tests the product in their natural environment and doesn’t share the same physical location. Such testing is low-budget but delivers exceptional results.
When you’re trying to answer questions about how customers interact with your product at a specific location like a fitness app at a gym. Furthermore, it’s much easier to find participants or testers as they can take the usability test from their home or office.
In remote testing, the tester receives a link followed by the task and the questions on-screen. These testers are usually connected in real-time using software such as Skype or Zoom.
As people are more real in their natural environment, remote testing delivers insights based on scenarios closer to real life.
Movista, a mobile platform for retail execution, wanted to test their new communication feature. For finding the final usability issues before launch – they used remote usability testing. The remote testers were given a navigation goal followed by an open question asking the testers how the navigation went.
These open-ended questions are super useful in understanding whether the product requirement meets the customer’s expectation or not.
After compilation of the answers, Movista included those options which were in demand.
Lesson: Remote testing allows you to test more participants without breaking the bank. It’s a secret weapon for brands which iteratively test and implement customer feedback.
Usability testing is not a one-time affair because it’s the only way to discover usability issues before they dent your brand’s reputation. This type of testing offers the following benefits irrespective of the stage you’re in with your product development.
- Increase in customer satisfaction
- Increase in sales and revenue
- Solid brand reputation
- Decrease in maintenance cost
Even in the product launch stage, it can help find areas requiring improvement. But, the sooner you find usability issues, the less money you spend on rectification.
Perform usability tests for the right reason, and you have a higher probability of achieving a desirable outcome. On the other hand, when you test for the wrong reasons, you end up with erroneous insights that can jeopardize your business.
Usability testing measures behavior and not preference. And, brands need to observe and measure behavior to support their end goals.
In short, it’s the gold standard for measuring user experience, and you measure the total amount of friction involved when a customer uses your product in real life.
Winners know the importance of usability testing and leave no stone unturned in launching a user-friendly product.