how to perform a test
By Owen Fay . Posted on March 23, 2022

Usability A/B testing is a process of evaluating a product, service, or business by testing it with users. The users answer questions or complete tasks to answer questions about experiences and usability.

At Poll the People we give you a platform to test usability with real people in minutes not days. We don’t want to be just another testing tool but an affordable and effective way to optimize your business.

Usability A/B Testing: a human-centered process to evaluate a product, service, website, app, or other resources with real people to gain insights into their experiences. With usability A/B testing two variations of the resource are shown to a panel of users to find the option that delivers the biggest impact, achieves business goals, and drives metrics.

As you might know, when your business is growing it might be hard to increase conversions or traffic. It becomes more important to give the users what they want and need.

Usability A/B testing will help you find issues with any of your designs and create a great user experience.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be done in a lab or even with a moderator, it can take under an hour and cost less than you might have thought.

If you want a few examples of testing with our blog Beginner’s Guide To Usability A/B Testing is a good place to start.

So what are the steps to usability A/B testing and starting your journey to optimization? We have 6 steps for performing a test before you come to Poll the People and once you’re there.

1. Research

Before you even get to the platform you’re testing with (we hope it’s us) you need to do some research about different elements of your business.

Just like with any new internal project you need to set up a plan and figure out what might need to be changed or what could be better.

You can test just about anything through usability A/B testing but just testing anything might not be worth your time and money.

If you’re looking for some help brainstorming what you should consider here’s a blog that should help.

To do the research and get on the road to a successful test, make a shortlist of the most obvious issues with your website, designs, ads, etc., and what would benefit from some changes.

Some qualitative and quantitative data should help with the next steps of the process. Maybe look at your web traffic. If it’s dropped or never really got started your website might have some usability issues.

If you can’t seem to figure out why your ads aren’t giving you the results you want that might be a good place to start.

There are a ton of different things you can test, we have templates and ways to make them better. But you have to know what your plan is and the research step will help.

2. Create A Hypothesis

After you’ve done your research on different parts of the business you have to create a question or hypothesis that will tell you if your test is successful.

The upside of having a clear hypothesis is that your whole team will know if you’re testing the right thing. It guides us to quick solutions about how to test the resource, you think has problems.

For example, a hypothesis like “Having fewer options in the navigation menu will make navigating our website easier” will tell you if the test worked.

In that case when you test you should take your current menu and test it against a new version with fewer options in each tab.

Another example would be “A lighter color pallet will result in more engagement and be more appealing”

Here, instead of having users navigate your website, you’d ask them about the appeal or if one color pallet makes the experience better.

These questions and the process of making a great hypothesis will help in later steps like creating the questions or tasks and analyzing results.

You have to be able to prove that the test was valuable and will help your business move forward.

3. Set A Goal

A little bit like creating a hypothesis the goal of the test lets you know if you’re testing the right thing. The beauty of usability A/B testing is that you can gain confidence in your decisions and easily find issues.

One of the most important parts of making sure you’re getting the most out of a test is creating specific goals.

Consider what you want to get out of your test, what type of responses you are looking for, and how you will use the data once you have it.

These are all things that need to be considered if you want to reap all the benefits of testing and the first step is considering them to create a goal.

Obviously, the overall goal is to create a better business and find issues with usability. But narrowing that down to something like creating ads that create more leads gives you the answers you really need.

Importance Of Specific Goals

As we talked about briefly vague goals get you nowhere. You won’t really know if your test is making a difference unless you create specific goals.

Choose 1-2 core goals that impact the bottom line and 3-5 supporting goals. Anything more than that will distract you from what’s most important (as will changing goals too often). – Shanelle Mullin, Conversion Rate Optimization at Shopify

In usability A/B testing these specific goals keep you on track and make sure you’re achieving the right things.

Most of the time we have a general idea of what we want to get out of a test but haven’t drilled down to see specifically how it will impact the business.

This practice will ensure you’re doing the right thing and let you communicate the results to the rest of your team.

The benefits you see are a high level of confidence, plus you spend less time and effort on testing.

4. Create Variations

Finally, we get to the process of setting up and running a test. If you have the other three steps done, you can go to Poll the People and create a project.

In usability A/B testing you test two versions of your design against each other with the goals and hypothesis in mind to see what is better for the user experience.

It can be your current or first version of a logo or landing page or two completely new versions. The key is to create two versions that will tell you if the hypothesis is true, so whatever that might be make two versions and compare them with a test.

Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you to take your prototypes, rough designs, ad variations, etc., and plug them right into a template. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of variations or options that you think are good narrow it down to the two best versions. If you really can’t decide test two versions, find the better, one, and run another test with the other options.

Testing only two versions at a time will keep the process simple for the users and keep the results easy to analyze for your business.

5. Run A Test

We’ve outlined a lot of steps but we’re finally at the part you might be wondering about the most.

Honestly, it’s one of the easier steps of this process. Poll the People makes it easy to set up a test, it takes about 5 minutes and only takes about 60 minutes to get all your results.

The first thing is to decide what type of test you want to run. Once you know if it’s a logo, ads, images, text, web design, or whatever else, you are all set to put it together and launch.

Now you just click on one of our templates and fill in each section. Keep in mind your goals here, that will be how you ask the questions you want answered.design your testOnce you complete the design part of your test move to selecting your audience. We have a panel of thousands of dedicated users that help you find the best option and tell you why they chose that one.number of responsesTypically, about 128 responses is enough to confirm your hypothesis and gain confidence in your test. But choose the number that you think your test needs and just move to review and checkout.

That’s all it takes, once you review everything and your test is set up the way you want just click Launch Poll, sit back, and let the responses roll in.

6. Analyze Results And Make Changes

Once you’ve gone through the first five steps and your test finishes in an hour (you don’t have to wait long) you’re ready to dive into the insights.

We give you a results dashboard with charts, graphs, and all the written feedback to find problems, solutions, and the winner of the test.results dashboard The most valuable part of the results, that other platforms might not give you is the written responses. You can filter through the users that voted on one version or another and see why they chose it. It’ll give you the ability to make changes that really affect your business.written feedback An important thing to remember is no matter what your preference was you need to use the feedback to make your decision, not your heart.

The responses tell you what will make the biggest impact and what will help the business meet users’ needs.

The final part of the entire usability A/B testing process is to take the feedback you gathered and make the changes that will help optimize your business.

Even some of the negative feedback can give you ways to continue to improve or show you ways to optimize that you might not have thought of.

Conclusion

So now we’ve learned a lot about usability A/B testing and how the entire process works. Following these steps will help you set up a great test as well as get the most out of the results.

Make sure you know why you’re testing, that you’re testing with the right number of users, and the right audience. Some resources like a logo will need a different number of users than something like website design.

Setting up the right test is just as important as what you will do with the results. Make sure the questions and test type are in line with the hypothesis and goal.

Usability A/B testing is great for identifying problems and Poll the People testing is great for finding ways to fix those problems. Just make sure to test again to make sure you have fixed those issues.

As you begin to put together your testing process, you’ll find exactly what works for your business. Now that you have all this information you can sign up and get going.

Happy testing!

If you have any other questions leave us a comment or reach out. If you want to learn more check out our whole website for anything you might need.

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