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What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is an empirical method of testing design variations. It is useful for seeing which version of a design is more effective.

Huh?

Imagine you have two versions of a website homepage. You want to discover which one is more effective.

Method:

  1. Define a goal — e.g. click “sign-up” button
  2. Show Homepage A to 50% of your visitors (chosen randomly)
  3. Show Homepage Version B to the other 50%.
  4. Use statistical analysis to see which version is more effective.

What are the benefits of A/B testing?

  • Can be cheaper than usability testing
  • Provides proof rather than opinions
  • Tests are invisible to live users
  • Allows you to trial new designs before roll-out

What Should You Test?

  • Choice of images
  • Layout of pages
  • Choice of words in headings
  • Size, colour and placement of headings
  • Amount of text on the page
  • Design of forms

What are Wireframes?

  • Wireframes are low fidelity sketches of screens
  • They help illustrate the interactions and layout
  • Graphic design is carried out only when the wireframes are agreed

What are Prototypes?

  • Prototypes are clickable
  • Prototypes mimic the interactivity of the application
  • Prototypes may be low fidelity (look like sketches) or high fidelity (look like the real application)

What are the Benefits of Wireframing/Prototyping?

  • A wireframe/prototype helps to communicate the design to the customer and other stakeholders
  • It’s quicker and easier to make changes to a wireframe or prototype than to a working site or application
  • You can conduct an expert usability review, or usability testing, using a wireframe or a prototype

What is a Storyboard?

A storyboard is a visual document that describes a typical user scenario.

What are the Benefits of Storyboarding?

  • Helps stakeholders to visualize a user experience
  • Easier to understand than text documents or flowcharts
  • Provides an end-to-end overview of the experience
  • Can incorporate other design artefacts, e.g. wireframes,artwork, personas
  • Especially useful for scenarios involving
    • multiple technologies
    • multiple individuals
    • temporally fragmented user experiences

What is a Usability Expert Review?

A usability expert review is an audit of your software, carried out by an experienced usability practitioner who uses ‘heuristic’ principles.

My Method

  1. I analyse the user experience of your website, product or system by:
    • Checking for common usability issues
    • Measuring against international best practices, e.g. the Neilsen-Norman heuristic guidelines
    • Drawing upon my real-world usability experience to uncover any additional UX issues
  2. I describe each issue, with screenshots
  3. I group issues according to severity
  4. I recommend pragmatic solutions

Advantages

  • Easy to understand –My reports are straightforward
  • Solutions – I tell you what’s broken and how to fix it
  • Speed – I typically deliver our reports within five working days of commencement.

Field research, or contextual enquiry, is a method of researching users and their needs in their own environment.

What are the Advantages of Field Research?

  • Users are better at explaining issues in context, rather than recalling
  • You see where the usability pain occurs for everyday users
  • You view the order of tasks
  • You see opportunities, e.g. where users have to rely on external software tools to complete tasks
  • You hear the language of users, so that it can be reflected in the system
  • You learn system short cuts that users have discovered

What is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is a method of evaluating the way users experience your system, product or web site.

What are the Benefits of Usability Testing?

People who are involved in the design of a service, product or application, or involved in the business associated with it, are too close to it to see any potential problems.

Advantages of Usability Testing

  • Testing is cost effective – testing on just five users typically uncovers 85% of issues
  • You don’t need fancy equipment or a lab
  • You can test remotely, so people can use their own computers or mobiles
  • You can test on wireframes or early stage designs
  • Testing with just one user is likely to reveal something that you need to fix urgently