Category Archives: Research

User testing approach and the product purchasing process

I’ve been working on the testing plan for a large personal finance company.

The aim of testing is to understand customer behaviour during the purchase process and how we can help motivate customers through the journey. The purchase journey can be broken into a number of stages.

Recognition of a problem or a need
Discovery
Product Evaluation
Buying decision
Purchase
Expectation and use

As part of the customer research I’m using an online survey to gather customer requirements at key stages in the process. A secondary aim is to understand what devices customers are using and how they use devices differently. This should help inform the longer term strategic development of the site.

As well as the online questionnaire I’m running some face to face user testing. This consists of in depth customer interviews which inform the affinity or a behaviour model. [We can then assign features and functionally to ensure that customer needs are support by the product.]

Usability testing the current web and responsive offer will highlight what is working and what’s not working so well.

Running the two sessions will give both good insight into the strategic product development whilst delivering immediate improvements to the product.

purchase-decision-process

What is user experience?

When customers are looking for information or a product how often do they say:

‘Wow! This is a really great website, I’ve found what I’m looking for so easily.’

As human beings we generally have high expectations. We expect the world to be a good place and we anticipate that things will work easily. It is only when they don’t that we get frustrated.

As a business the last thing you want to do is needlessly frustrate your customers. That’s why ensuring that your web site or web products offer customers a great experience is essential. If the user experience isn’t good you’ll end up with unhappy customers, who are less likely to purchase or give positive feedback.

Defining user experience

 

The definition of user experience, according to Wikipedia is:

 

User experience (UX) involves a person’s behaviors, attitudes, and emotions about using a particular product, system or service.

 

So UX tends to cover a whole range of disciplines.

 

  • Web design
  • Usability
  • Accessibility
  • Marketing
  • Ergonomics [easy of use]
  • HCI
  • Site – content
  • System performance

 

Benefits of good user experience

 

If a customer has a bad user experience, this will reflect negatively on the Brand.

The “2011 User Experience Buyer’s Guide” by Econsultancy identified that a good User Experience

  • Increases Sales and online conversions
  • Improves brand perception
  • Improves Google search rankings
  • Reduces customer dis-satisfaction and churn
  • Reduces the costs of development and support

What do user experience professionals set out to achieve

 

UX designers study and evaluate how customers are using websites or web products. UX designers solve problems and find opportunities to improve the customer experience. This could mean optimising an existing site, starting from scratch on a new website or just fixing aspects of an existing site which aren’t working well.

 

It’s essential to be clear what the challenge is. To do this research as much as possible about the business and their customers. There are various questions that UX needs to answer during this initial research phase.

Research questions

  • What are the business goals for the website?
  • What can you learn from the competition?
  • How are customers currently using the site?
  • What do customer feel about the website?
  • How successful are they in achieving their goals?

 

All the research is then pulled together to form a user experience document, which outline the approach for the site redevelopment. This normally includes the key user goals. These key user goals are very important as they become one of the key metrics to measure the success of a new product or development.

 

Assessing the ROI

 

Don’t ever wait until a site has gone live before you assess whether any changes are going to improve the user experience. During the development of a website, various techniques can be used to evaluate and measure how well the product is likely to perform. These could include user testing, A/B testing, multivariate testing.

 

UX is very important in developing new web products or in solving problems with a current site.  UX experience professionals study and evaluate how customers are using your site and look for opportunities to improve the customer experience. By improving the user experience of a website you are very likely to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.