Website user experience testing – It’s a no brainer!

Companies are prepared to plough thousands into their websites – and then spend even more on the advertising and marketing which drive visitors there.

Little wonder. People are now so comfortable buying online retailers’ websites are expected to generate close to £90 billion in sales in the UK this year.

It’s essential then, that when companies get customers to their website they compel visitors to act in a positive way and don’t frustrate people to the point they jump to a competitor’s site. Otherwise they can soon start to lose market share.

The best way to ensure a website is operating at an optimum level is to test a typical customer journey.  It seems ridiculous that companies spending £20,000 on the website would not spend £30 per user test to ensure that journey is a pleasurable one for the customer. Yet few companies are actually doing these tests before going live with a new website.

So the question needs to be asked, why are companies not testing? Well there are three main reasons for this:

False perception of expense
People still think user experience testing is expensive – it’s not. It was once very expensive, but technology is now allowing for crowd sourcing which has made this process much more affordable. And these tests can now be turned around within 48 hours.

Web designers fear the results
Web designers are not overly keen to push these tests as they fear it may work against them. The website they produce may be technically sound but user tests could show it is not producing the right results from a customer perspective. However, as this is the end game for companies, this is where the focus should be.

Agencies don’t want to jeopardise work
Companies often worry their competitor’s website is working better than their own. In many cases they will consult with an agency at this point. Instead of offering user experience testing to see if this is actually the case however, agencies often offer ways they can redesign or develop a new site. Even though the client may not necessarily need a complete revamp.

It is essential that agencies do push user experience testing, however, as it’s just too important to ignore. The independent feedback generated is vital to identify if customers are likely to experience any problems navigating the site. Can they find the right information easily? Are the ‘calls to actions’ actually compelling customers to act?

It is not just the client who benefits in this regard. The agency itself will also gain as they will be able to see what works well and what could be improved.

We’re such an advocate of user experience testing that it is prepared to put its money where its mouth is and absorb the cost for these tests ourselves.We now offer this as a free value added service to our new clients. Our hope is other agencies will follow suit and this becomes the industry standard.

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Should websites be built for mobile first?