Validating Design Assumptions With UX Testing

We all make assumptions, and our opinions are not subjective. The same applies to the design of your website.  

For example, you might spot a problem with your site and presume you know how it can be solved. This is something we regularly see businesses fall into the trap of; coming up with ideas for why something isn’t working and jumping straight into implementing those changes with no data to back it up.  

But there’s a problem with this approach. One person’s experience and understanding will differ from another. This is where UX testing comes in. Instead of simply implementing the changes you think your site needs, UX testing involves testing and learning with real site users to understand the ‘why’. These methods focus on what isn’t available in your data – why users behave like they do.  

In this blog… 

We discuss:  

  • Why you should validate assumptions through UX testing 
  • When the best time is to carry out UX testing  
  • The different types of testing that can be used  

Why should you validate assumptions through UX testing? 

There are a whole host of reasons why UX testing should be carried out to validate your assumptions:  

  • Save resource and budget: Without UX testing, you could spend precious time and money redesigning or rebuilding an area of your site only to put it live and not get the result you wanted. By testing to validate assumptions, you may find the problem is smaller than originally anticipated and isn’t a priority to fix. Or you may find it needs dealing with fast and that the impacts will be hugely beneficial to your eCommerce store.  
  • Bring objectivity back: Based on facts rather than opinion, UX testing allows you to make objective decisions. Without conducting testing, you run the risk of making changes based solely on assumptions.  
  • Get further buy-in: Testing gives you the insight to gain investment in order to make required changes. Helping to build a business case with stakeholders, you’ll be able to confidently explain why improvements are needed.  
  • Ensure changes are usable: eCommerce is a saturated landscape and there’s a need to standout from the competition. However, before jumping into doing something that’s a little bit ‘out there’, test the change first to ensure it’s usable. Users have learned to interact with websites in a certain way and you don’t want to go against the grain too much as this could result in lost visitors and lost conversions.  
  • Create a better user experience: UX testing can remove barriers that affect your website from performing at its best. Without carrying these tests out, you risk negatively impacting your reputation and the perceived value behind what you do.  

When’s the best time to test?  

UX testing shouldn’t just be left until  your site needs rebuilding. It can be introduced at any stage whether that’s on an ongoing basis, during a website build, while making improvements to an existing site or post launch to ensure everything is working as it should be.  

Before making changes as part of a website rebuild, it’s worthwhile evaluating your existing site to inform improvements and ensure you don’t take unnecessary elements to your new site.  

Once your project has launched, carrying out ongoing testing and making continuous improvements through a retainer plan is a great idea and one we recommend to our clients. This can help you spot any problems before they become a bigger issue while keeping your website in tip top condition to offer the best user experience possible.  

The best tests to validate your assumptions  

Tree testing 

Tree testing helps you understand how findable the topics on your website are to shed light on where and why people get lost onsite. Whether you’re building a completely new website or improving your existing one, this method will give you the insight to build an information architecture designed with your audience in mind.  

So, how is this test carried out? Taking the navigation in its simplest form, such as a mobile menu, we can show it to target users and ask them questions such as “where would you click to find the footwear category?”. This gives us an understanding of whether they can find what they need with ease while highlighting categorisation or navigation issues.  

A cost-effective test to carry out, tree testing is a simple method that can provide conversion boosting results.  

First click testing 

Where do users click when they first land on your website? First-clicking testing allows you to see where a user would click on an interface to complete a given task. This provides the insight you need to create interfaces that your visitors will understand from first look.  

First-click testing consists of showing the user an image so they can identify where they would click to find a specific area or category. Similar to a heat map or click density grid, this form of testing can provide valuable data within seconds.  

Card sorting 

When you’re used to how a website is structured, it’s second nature to quickly navigate to the category, subcategory or product you want. But card sorting allows for a fresh perspective from real users. 

Card sorting is a common testing method that can be used for navigation purposes, website hierarchy or to decide what content sits on what page. Using this method, you can find out how your users think your website should be organised enabling you to make more confident and informed structural decisions.  

There are two forms of card sorting that can be carried out: 

  • Open card sorting: This method involves having open methods of sorting. For example, when testing a navigation, you could offer the subcategories and ask the user to group and name those categories.  
  • Close card sorting: This method is when the categories have already been named and users are asked to put the subcategories into the area that they see fit.   

First impression testing 

First impression testing, also known as the five second test, measures your users’ first impressions. Find out how visitors perceive your website after a short exposure and use this insight to spot trends and make improvements.  

During this test, the user (who has never seen the website before) would be shown an image of the homepage for five seconds. What impression you want to test in that time is completely up to you. Examples could include:  

  • Do you remember the name of the brand? 
  • Do you understand what country they target? 
  • What do you think they sell? 

This helps you understand whether the impression you want to give and the impression you are giving line up.  

How we work with clients 

Our approach to UX strategy is designed to make your customers’ path to conversion as quick and easy as possible. Only with extensive testing can we deliver this result and create even better eCommerce which is why testing is a must-have feature of every project we work on.  

Team Pinpoint holds the expertise and experience to grow your eCommerce success. If you feel like your business could benefit from our UX strategy or want to know more about how testing can drive performance, don’t hesitate to get in touch.