In today’s marketing environment, companies’ websites are one of the most important tools in their arsenals for attracting new clients. However, this hasn’t historically been the case. If your company’s website has fallen behind the curve of others in your industry, it may be time for a website redesign.
Why User Testing Matters During Website Redesigns
As you begin thinking about retooling your website, user testing should be at the front of your mind. This is the practice of evaluating the functionality and design of your website by observing how visitors interact with it. It’s incredibly important to carry out this kind of testing throughout the redesign process because there’s simply no other way of learning what users really think about the changes you’re making.
The importance of user testing to website redesigns is backed up by statistical evidence. According to a recent study conducted by Adobe, 38% of people will stop using a website if it has an unattractive layout and poor content. User testing provides your company’s design team with the hard data it needs to optimize each part of its website so that visitors want to come back. It’s an invaluable tool that you shouldn’t ignore while working on a redesign.
What User Testing Looks Like
Your company has an opportunity to differentiate itself from its website. Achieving that starts with investing in a comprehensive user testing program during the design phase. For the best results, we recommend utilizing a heat map.
Put simply, a heat map is a tool that tracks the clicks, scrolls, and movements visitors make on your website. It shows your design team which parts of the website are “hot” (popular) in red and the parts of it that are “cold” (unpopular) in blue. Use this to get in-depth data showing exactly what your customers think about each part of your website redesign. Your team will gain valuable data, which they can use to make more informed decisions about how to proceed with the redesign.
Your company can also take advantage of user testing tools like lab tests and qualitative research. Lab tests ask a user to follow a predetermined scenario so an observer can note how they proceed. Qualitative research can provide your company with data at a more granular level. It offers the opportunity to explore the perceptions users have about your new website’s design, content, look, and ease of use. Each of these can help your design team further refine its approach.
We also think it’s incredibly important for your company’s CEO to be a part of the user-testing process. Your CEO sets the tone for everything your business does. As a user-tester for your website redesign, they can do the same for your company’s online offerings. Your CEO will get a first-hand look at how the changes you’ve been making align with their strategic vision for the company. Their input can be invaluable as you continue working towards your design goals.
User Testing Success Stories
We emphasize user testing because we understand from our own experiences how beneficial it can be to website redesign projects. We recently delivered a new website to S&S Transport, who’s first priority was to attract new drivers. We helped them achieve that by creating a sitemap that made it easier for users to learn what their business does and how to apply for a job. User testing was an integral part of making our work on this project successful.
Onsharp’s Website Project Coordinator, Izzy Peterson, stated that, “One of S&S transport’s website goals included cleaning up their forms for better user experience. To help achieve this goal, we assisted them by editing their forms down and building them in a format that is mobile responsive, so forms can be filled out on the go by a driver or customer. This involves testing the forms on various devices to ensure they are responsive and also to ensure the outputs (or emails to the company) are in a clean, easy to read format.”
Onsharp also used user testing to redesign Premier Earthworks & Infrastructure’s website. Peterson again offered insight to the user testing process by adding, “PEI needed a responsive site that could appeal to clients and potential employees. We wanted to make sure we had the right content that is easy to consume on desktop or mobile, and not be too overwhelming. Again, testing the site on multiple devices and making sure each page leads with the most relevant information and best graphics is our goal. Also, on the job app, we added a feature to translate to Spanish. In doing so, we needed to make sure this feature worked well on all devices and was obvious to any potential employee who may come to the page and want to answer in Spanish.”
User testing provided Onsharp with the data we needed to exceed PEI’s expectations for their project. Peterson concluded her thoughts with, “User testing is mostly about reviewing a site thoroughly from different devices and then removing any design elements or obstacles that get in the way of the user getting the information they need. This means making sure the site is easy to navigate through menus and calls to action, and cutting down on extra clicks.”
Embarking on a comprehensive website redesign can feel daunting, but however you decide to proceed, make sure user testing plays a key role in your design process.