Usability research offers valuable insights into how to improve a user experience, but does the research always reflect real behaviour?

Usability Testing Delivers  Real Insights:

When we help create a website or app we are naturally proud of our achievement. However, this means we are less objective and critical of any flaws in the design and functionality of the site or app. This is called the IKEA effect. We undertake usability testing to obtain a balanced and objective view of digital design and functionality. It is essential for providing evidence to support digital optimisation.

Usability testing is an often under-used form of research, but it frequently identifies new insights and barriers to conversion that we would otherwise be unaware of. Your web analytics can tell you the ‘what’, but usability testing will tell you the ‘why’. So, what are the benefits of usability testing?

      • When we focus on a task or project we are prone to seeing what we expect to see because our brain filters out things it regards as less important. This means we often miss obvious issues. Usability testing avoids this problem because it does not rely on our own opinions.
      • People recruited for giving you feedback on your site or app are not connected to your business and so they are willing to give frank and honest opinions. If you ask people you know, they may not feel comfortable with saying what they really think in case they upset your feelings.
      • User research is not about proving or disproving a design or functionality is better or worse than an existing experience. It’s about informing your decisions, and gaining new insights about how users might react to changes to your app or website. If you need a high degree of confidence that a new experience is better than the old design, we suggest you conduct A/B testing.
      • It is a valuable source of ideas for A/B testing. To create a strong hypothesis you need evidence to support it and usability testing is a good way of generating insights which can be turned into A/B tests.
      • User research can give feedback on a design or concept at the early stages of development. It’s better to begin usability testing sooner rather than later so that it can inform decision making. It’s possible gather feedback using wire frames, prototypes and even drawings.

Type of Usability Tests:


Focus groups are not a form of user research because usability testing needs to deal with one user at a time. People in focus groups have a tendency to overthink things, and are often overly influenced by the respondent with the loudest or most persistent opinion.

We conduct various types of user research, dependent upon the nature of the project and your individual needs. For remote user testing we have a range of tests including:

1. Click Analysis –  visual hierarchy: 


Evaluate the effectiveness of call-to-actions and the hierarchy of content by recording how users complete agreed tasks using your digital designs, and how long it takes them. 

Creates heat maps to show click clusters, including time-to-click. Allows filtering to a cluster of clicks to analyse follow-up questions to find out why respondents were attracted to that area.  

Deploy navigation tests and funnel visualisations to show where users drop off most frequently and identify bottlenecks and frustrated participants.  

First click testing can be valuable because users who click down the right path on their first click are more likely to successfully complete their intended task 


2. Design Surveys – Ask users questions. 


Allows you to ask a sample of users specific questions about new or existing designs and collate answers within hours.   

Question filters allow you to ask more revealing follow up questions according to how users respond to a previous question. This allows you to create complex tests based upon how participants answer each question.  

Offers open text analysis with tags to identify themes or estimate how frequently a similar answer was given.  


3. Preference Tests – WHICH DESIGN and why? 


Fine tune visual designs, marketing copy, branding and other assets by measuring user sentiment and affinity. 

Preference tests can help you decide between different designs by asking a sample of real people to tell you which one they like most. By asking follow-up questions you can also understand why participants prefer one design more than another.   

Automatically calculates statistical significance to inform you if the results are conclusive.  

 4. Five Second Test – First Impressions. 

Optimise the clarity of your messages and images on landing pages by measuring people’s recall and first impressions.  

Identify how people perceive your designs after a short exposure as most website visitors decide in the first few second whether they will bounce or stay on a site. According to research users can judge the credibility of a website in as little as 3.42 seconds.  


User research should be an essential part of your conversion rate optimisation strategy. Contact us for a free consultation at or call us on 01978 – 896787.


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