Customer experience is at the crux of a brand’s success – it can make or break it. In fact, according to reports, 88% of online users are unlikely to return after a bad experience. On the other hand, an intuitive user experience can delight customers and give you a distinct competitive edge to attract and retain customers. An intuitive user experience goes beyond designing an aesthetically pleasing website (though that is also important). It has more to do with how users navigate and interact with your website and how easily they are able to find what they are looking for in the least amount of time. In fact, 61.5% of users leave a website due to bad navigation. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid this while designing your website or app. Through usability testing, you can test your prototypes with users to determine ease of use and avoid costly errors down the line.
What is usability testing?
Usability testing is a method of user research that enables product teams to understand how users interact with designs, prototypes and wireframes and get their feedback and insights to improve the user experience.
Benefits of UX usability testing
Conducting usability testing can help you in your product development process in so many ways, from better understanding user needs to uncovering issues to helping you make better design decisions and even implementing the right tweaks to your product. Here are some of the benefits of usability testing:
#1 Helps uncover usability issues
Issues and bugs in software are common when developing an app or website. However, it is important to weed out all (or at least most) of them before their launch so that your users can have a seamless experience. By conducting UX usability testing, you can get users to test and break your software early in the development process so you can make the necessary changes.
#2 Get unbiased, objective opinions
It’s easy to get distracted or fixate on a single idea when you’re working on something for a long while. Conducting UX usability testing can help you refocus your efforts from the users’ perspective and test your assumptions. For example, let’s say that you and your team are undecided on whether a certain feature would actually be useful or not. Conducting usability testing can help you understand not only whether it works from an unbiased audience, but also why it does/doesn’t.
#3 Helps improve conversion
Users expect a seamless and intuitive user experience without any extra steps or friction points in the journey. With usability testing, you can tell how long it takes users to complete key tasks. Remember that the longer it is, the more likely it is that they will drop off. Conducting usability testing helps can help you understand where the roadblocks lie in the user journey. You can then remove any extra steps and friction points, leading to a seamless user experience.
So is usability testing similar to concept testing?
While usability testing could sound similar to concept testing, especially in terms of what they test, they are fundamentally different in what they seek to clarify. They are both important parts of designing a great user journey – however, here are a few parameters on which we can differentiate usability and concept testing:
The object of the test
As the name suggests, concept testing is conducted at the initial stages of product development to validate product ideas with users to see which they would prefer.
However, usability testing can be considered the next step in this process – it tests prototypes and wireframes to understand the ease of use and how optimal it is.
The method of testing
Concept testing is generally intended for users to pick out the most appealing option among many. This can be done through qualitative (focus group discussions, one-on-one interviews) and quantitative (surveys, online polls) methods.
Usability testing can also use surveys – however, the main method of testing here is through individual tasks that can tell researchers how users are interacting with the product.
The intended result
Concept testing aims to answer the ‘which’ question – which prototype do users prefer?
Usability testing aims to answer the ‘how’ question – how do users navigate when given a task? How effective is the prototype in solving the users’ needs?
When to do UX usability testing?
Ideally, UX usability testing must be conducted at all stages of the product development process. Here’s how it is beneficial at every stage:
At the development stage: When was the last time your first draft was also the final draft?
When formulating UX wireframes for your website or app, it is important to put them to the test toget feedback on the design. This can help you understand if users find your product intuitive, and help you understand if you’re truly addressing their needs.
At this stage, you can also benefit from understanding how your competitors are doing and how you can integrate their (successful) approaches to improve your product. Affect UX, our DIY user research platform, has its own set of benchmarking scores that can help you do just that.
While redesigning: Redesigning your brand’s website or app is crucial – it helps to keep up with the brand identity, current designs, and can increase traffic and generate leads for your website. Conducting usability testing on your website at this stage can help you choose the design that works best for your users, helping you with both user acquisition and retention. Since usability testing also helps you reduce your overall TAT (Turnaround Time), you can end up saving time and money on your redesigning project.
After launch: If you’ve been conducting usability testing on your product at the most critical stages of development, congrats! You probably have a great product that is intuitive to customers’ needs. However, there’s always room for improvement. Whether that’s updating outdated design, fixing bugs or testing out new software updates, usability testing can help you continue your seamless customer experience.
A good user experience journey does not only help generate traffic for your website – it can provide tangible results by boosting conversions. Conducting usability testing can tell you how you can improve this experience to ensure your users’ needs are met.
Through Affect UX, you can conduct usability testing to understand and improve your customer experience journey. We provide AI-powered behavioral insights through our Facial Coding and Eye Tracking technologies that can help you get faster, deeper and unbiased insights from your users to build a highly intuitive product. Let us know how we can help improve your customer journey!