UXD and A/B split testing: two sides of the same coin

All websites serve a specific purpose and though they have different aims, all websites want 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. In marketing, we refer to this interaction as a conversion. When a visitor does make a purchase or registers for an account ─ as was the website’s goal ─ the visitor is converted. The rate at which a website converts visitors is an important metric to measure as it determines how a website is performing, this is called a conversion rate.

If your business relies heavily on your website to generate revenue, you would want to ensure that your website has a high conversion rate.

“Businesses have now come to recognize that providing a quality user experience is an essential, sustainable competitive advantage.”  – Jessie James Garrett, UXD expert.

What is user experience design (UXD)?

UXD is the process of adjusting certain design elements 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 the emotional reaction to the system. In this discussion, the system is a website on either desktop or mobile.

The short:

The goal of user experience design 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.

The even shorter:

UXD results in websites that are easy to use and beneficial to its users and owners.

Times change

Good design is always done with the user experience in mind and will concern choosing the right colours, the right layouts, fonts, content, formats etc. But something that works for one visitor, will not necessarily work for another and as technology develops and our behaviour and perceptions change, so designers must also be mindful of how this impacts the way they think about UXD. Design concepts that might have been working well until now, might not keep performing so well in the future and need to be addressed.

So what is A/B split testing?

The easy version:

A/B Split testing is when two or more (then called multivariate testing) variations of the same website is randomly shown to real visitors with the aim of measuring which one performs, or rather converts better to accomplish the website’s goals. So for example, the 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.

This has to be done at the same time to reduce any chances of outside factors that could influence the accuracy of the test. These factors can relate to anything from the season of the year to the economy.

Test anything you like, but…

Any element on your site can be tested, such as:

  • different headings
  • alternate copy
  • images
  • buttons
  • calls to action
  • offers (offers can be differently described)
  • colors
  • positioning of elements

Just keep in mind that you need to look at what your competitors are doing with the relevant elements.

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 produce even better performing websites, whatever the site’s goals are ─ but why are many 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 UXD?

This topic will be further examined in a future article ─ so keep an eye on our blog. 

Contact Semantica for more information on how to implement  UXD and A/B split testing.

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