Increase Your Sales With Usability Tests

UX Design | 03th June 2017

The digital reality we currently live in, allows users to have a wider range of options to choose in a highly competitive market offering the same product or service, which can reached by a click. For these reasons, delivering the best user experience possible is a way to stand out in the market and to retain your clients.

For instance, when it comes to mobile apps, it’s common knowledge that a negative experience is enough to make an app never be used again. For example, only 16% of the people who were interviewed for this TechCrunch’s research claimed that they would use again the app with which they had a previous bad experience.

The usability is defined as “measure in which a product can be used by specific users in order to reach specific goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction, in a particular using context” (norm ISO 9241-11).

Apart from all these motives, there are two strong reasons as to why you should worry about usability, from the beginning  of your project:

  • Reduction of developing costs and time, due to predictability
  • An increase in attraction as well as retention of users and clients, due to a good experience.

How can I analyse a product’s/service’s usability?

Here at Hi INTERACTIVE, the most common ways of investigating a digital interface’s usability (app, website, system, etc.) are through a specialist’s analyses or interviewing the users.

The first one, is a heuristic evaluation and it consists of having one of our usability experts running an analysis on the interface to be developed, evaluating it according to some appropriate heuristics for each project. The second one consists on asking the real users to do certain tasks in specific using contexts.

Each one of these approaches have its advantages and disadvantages, given that the tests with users are the most completed ones, when it comes to results, that end up being more aligned with user's real needs. However, they demand more work hours, which reflects on extended deadlines, and an increase in the project's investment.

What is heuristic evaluation?

Heuristic evaluation is a well recognised and proper practice which is capable of bringing value to your project in a short time frame(but without the depth and insights achieved through actual contact with the real users).

It is possible to design good interfaces based on the insights gained from heuristic evaluation. However, since the user experience is very extensive, the ideal scenario would be that each project had a specific time dedicated to research with real users, and relying on the tests made by a mixed group of users which represent the product's target audience. All of this should be developed under a usability specialist´s supervision, that will translate the users’ reactions, feelings, resourcefulness, difficulties, doubts and hesitations, in a list of problems to solve and improvement opportunities.

For best results, this work is done before the beginning of  IT Development, doing it so will allow all the insights to be identified before many hours of development, in a way that the changes detected could be applied without a significant impact on the project’s budget.

How should the tests be carried out?

Each test’s specific goal depends on the project and evolves managing:

users – project goals – using context

A question which usually pops up, concerns about the number of participants necessary to perform a test. According to  Jakob Nielsen, testing with 3 to 5 people (of every target audience´s profile) is the best cost-benefit ratio for a project.

Usability problems found in x number of user tests

Where are these tests applied at?

The tests can be made straight in the real user’s environment (real using context) - if it's allowed so - or at the Hi INTERACTIVE´s offices. Usually, when held in the client's offices, the users tend to mask their negative reactions, which ends up harming the test´s final score.

What sort of tests can be applied?

There are a series of approaches possible for the execution of the tests with the users:

  • Test with users pre-project
  • ​Tests with users pre-development
  • Tests with users pre-launching
  • Post launch A/B test

Each project will be best answered to, within its specificities, with one of these options, or with the combination of some of them.

What are the advantages of investing in these tests?

The main advantage of testing with users is the possibility to argue and make decisions based on facts and not on each's taste. It also allows proving in advance, if what you are offering is really what your client is willing to use (and pay for), along with the opportunity to know your customers better, understand how they think, how they use the interface and what’s their relationship with technology.

This concentrated effort to understand their real needs has a very significant return on the investment, regarding higher engagement with your clients, as well as a lower development and maintenance cost, diminishing the changes identified solely through the customers’ complaints.

Studies show high financial return when the usability is used effectively. This way, investing in UX is not just something for “big companies” or for more “advanced” projects, but a plus in any sized project.


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