UX Design and A/B split testing: Two sides of the same coin
All websites serve a specific purpose and though they have different aims, the purpose of every website is to drive visitors to take a particular action. A website owner might want visitors to make a purchase, signup for a newsletter, register for an account or follow the company on its social channels. This interaction is called a conversion; when a visitor does make a purchase or register for an account, as was the website’s goal, the visitor is then converted into a customer or a lead, as they progress on their buyer journey. The rate at which a website converts visitors is an important measure to determine how a website is performing and is called the conversion rate.
If you have a business that relies heavily on your website to generate revenue, you would want to ensure that your website has a high conversion rate. The most important factor that leads to increasing your conversion rate is who your user is. That is where UX design plays a vital role. It relies on research to determine who your user is and what visuals, colours, fonts and call to action (CTA) placements will most appeal to your user to convert them into a paying customer. On the flip side it A/B split testing. This is the confirmation phase of your UX design. Does your audience respond to the assumptions that have been made from research? Does colour A convert better than colour B? Does the user prefer a more casual playful call to action (CTA) or a more aggressive one? Do users convert better with the placement of a CTA on the right or left? It is also important to consider and align these elements with your product or service.
“Businesses have now come to recognize that providing a quality user experience is an essential, sustainable competitive advantage.” – Jessie James Garrett, UX design expert
What is UX Design?
UX is the process of adjusting certain design features of any given system to improve a users experience in terms of the interface, graphics and interaction with a product or service which takes into consideration emotional reactions to the system, which is, in this instance a website. The goal of UX is to create a system that meets as many goals and needs as possible for both the organisation providing the system (website) and the user who is interacting with it, thus success and enjoyment would both feature as objectives in UXD. This results in websites that are easy to use and beneficial to both users and owners.
One size does not fit all
A common challenge in UX is that, what works for one visitor, may not necessarily work for another. Technological development and design trends also influence our behaviours and perceptions. Designers are required to be mindful about how this impacts the way that they think about user experience. Design concepts that may have been working well until now, might not continue to perform so well in future. How do we then appeal to multiple personalities, while also keeping up with design trends? Enter A/B split testing.
What is A/B split testing?
A/B Split testing is when two or more (then called multivariate testing) variations of the same website are randomly shown to real visitors with the aim of measuring which one converts better to accomplish the website’s goals. Split testing software is automatically configured to analyse which version of the site gets more conversions (click-throughs, signups or sales). You might want to test whether the position or size of a shopping cart generates more sales etc. There are more complex elements that can be tested, such as whether the position or size of the shopping cart icon generates more sales, or simpler elements can be tested, such as;
- different headings
- alternate copy
- calls to action
- offers (offers can be differently described)
- positioning of elements
Just keep in mind that you need to look at what your competitors are doing with the relevant elements.
QUICK TIP: Only test one element at a time so that you know which element contributes the most to conversions. Testing two variations must be done at the same time, over the same time period.
Why split test?
Split testing can have surprising results, and will help your website to convert visitors at an increased rate – which means conversions (sales) can increase without having to gain more visitors. Score!
A winning team often NOT chosen
User experience design in conjunction with A/B split testing or multivariate testing can lead to better performing websites that increase conversions, whatever the site’s goals are. Why are people not launching split tests left and right, or incorporating intensive research and conceptualisation for user experience design when building websites? What are the factors that come into play when people do or don’t decide to split test or invest in UX?