Changing the looks of your webpage? Ask users for opinion

There are countless companies that design internet sites. But even the most beautiful and technically advanced web page needs to bring profit. That said, it is a good idea to involve users into the process of designing your new looks. One of the possible solutions is the A/B testing.

A/B testing –user picks a better version

In the A/B testing users are given a few (most commonly two) versions of website to find out how they behave. It was famously used by Marissa Meyer, known as the Google’s princess, currently the CEO of Yahoo!. When company’s engineers argued over the color of the bar, she demanded testing. Users were presented a webpage with a bar in 41 shades of green and blue. Finally, the one that appealed to the most of them has been chosen.


On a lesser scale, every company interested in how introduced changes affect their customers behavior can use A/B testing. Such tests greatly help in choosing the color or size of a button, or deciding the order of navigation.

The undeniable pros of A/B testing are:

  • Tests are up to date
  • Results are available instantly
  • Tests are easily carried out

Currently, having a little knowledge and skill, every company can carry out such testing with the help of Google Analytics. Still, A/B testing has some downsides:

  • Different versions of website are needed
  • These pages, for the test to make sense, need to look possibly similar
  • Tests are carried out on ‘living and breathing’ users
  • Testing is authoritative only with lots of website traffic

Consequently, A/B testing is best for introducing slight changes in the looks of the page. Testing two completely different versions of a page, though possible, may be pointless. Even if one of these pages generates larger conversion rate, there is no way of saying why and how.

Quality testing

The necessity of testing a complete webpage is a serious downside from the internet shop’s point of view. Still, introducing changes to a complete product is much more complicated than doing so while still in testing. That is why a corridor testing of quality is a good idea before introducing the A/B tests; to gather the users’ opinions on the project.
Quality testing allows the comparison of even significantly different options. Users, mostly owing to the card sorting, may point out things that they like and those that they don’t in each of the projects. During such projects users get tabs with opinions (I like, I don’t like, I’m not interested) which they later match with particular elements of a site.
Quality testing also allows gathering new ideas from the users who look at the project from the new perspective. Being potential customers, they know what they expect from the product and can find out if that product meets their needs.

Conclusions?

A/B testing is great for introducing changes resulting from the quality testing. During the quality testing it is possible to initially plan the site according to the users’ needs and to be further optimized with the A/B testing, to find out what button colors or category order works best.

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Małgorzata Traczyk

Graduate of University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Social Science of Internet Communication and Warsaw School of Economics in Product and Service Management. Currently, Product Manager in Uxeria. She used to work on mobile applications’ design and remote usability testing as a UX Specialist in Management Observatory Foundation. She is a member of the Usability (IAB) working group. Outside work she is a fan of travelling, cinema and a wide range of music.

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