By Owen Fay . Posted on April 11, 2022

Your website’s design has a major impact on user experience and company success. You and your team have found an issue and decided to start the creation process to solve the issue for users.

Early on in the design process, you are probably creating wireframe designs, a simple representation of your website, app, or system. Testing these wireframes will help you identify the most effective structure of your page and the best way to present information to users.

Through testing, you understand satisfaction, efficiency, and usefulness in a usability A/B test of your wireframe design. Understanding how engaging the design is, how the design makes people feel, and the feedback they identify about the design are all important.

A simple usability A/B test of your wireframe with Poll the People is quick, affordable, and hassle-free. The test will help you identify ways to fix any issues you are concerned about and create the best design before spending a lot of time and money on your designs.

Users are given two versions of the layout to test and are asked questions on the design’s navigability and simplicity of use. Participants will vote on which version is the best. They will provide written feedback to help you understand the issues and why one version is better than another.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what wireframe designs are, why you should test them, and how you can test with Poll the People.

What is Usability A/B Testing?

Usability A/B testing isn’t difficult to understand, you start with two designs (a logo, ads, webpage, etc.) and present them to a panel of users to learn what version users prefer.

Typically when we have multiple designs we ask a few friends or colleagues for their opinions or just make a gut decision. Both of these methods are attached to a lot of bias and don’t use any user feedback.

Usability A/B testing is a user-centered method of assessing a product, website, app, or other resources with real users to learn about their experiences.

The goal of a usability A/B test is to gather real feedback from real people to optimize a resource for the users before you launch it. You will be able to find the design that creates the most engagement, accomplishes your testing goals, and drives business metrics.

You could spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars developing a picture-perfect design only to realize it has huge usability issues after it goes live. This is where a quick and effective testing process comes in handy.

What is a Wireframe Design?

Designers often create wireframe designs early on in the development process to find the user journey without spending excessive time and money on a complete design.

Wireframe website designs are a way of quickly prototyping a website, app, or system and are great for optimizing your website through testing before you develop the finished product.

They’re simple layout concepts, with little branding, color, or fully functional features. Their goal is to quickly showcase how a system will function. They allow the internal team and end-users the opportunity to give feedback before applying the more complex parts of the design.

Wireframe website designs define:

  • The Layout – organization of each element on a page
  • Functionality – How each part of the design will work
  • Information Structure – How the information is presented to users
  • User Flow – How the users will navigate the page and the steps they take to complete a task

You need to keep in mind that wireframes are skeleton designs of where your website’s primary navigation and content will appear on the page.

Wireframe designs can be created with pen and paper or a simple design tool like Figma or Proto. Once you quickly create the wireframes, test them with real users, and use the insights found in the test to create mid- to high-fidelity versions of your design.

Benefits of Testing Wireframe Design

So now you know what usability A/B testing and wireframe design are, you might be thinking “Do I really need to test a wireframe with real users?”.

Wireframe designs are inexpensive, can be created quickly, are easy to revisit, and fix if you find issues. The major advantage of wireframe websites is they are easy to test and change without much investment.

Think about it this way, if you spend hundreds of hours developing your design and launch without testing, only to find major issues, you wasted a lot of resources.

Maybe the users don’t know how to navigate the page, or maybe the information in the design isn’t what they are looking for and doesn’t help them complete their tasks. No matter what the issue is, you’ve lost valuable time and money that could have been used on testing earlier and more efficiently. By the time you have a final design, you’ll know the website meets user needs.

Usability A/B testing early and often allows you to:

  • Explore different website structures
  • Identify major or minor usability issues with the design
  • Validate ideas and concepts with users
  • Reduce the risk of launching poor designs
  • Gain valuable insights that can guide future designs

Jakob Nielsen made wireframe testing popular as a method to identify issues and understand layout effectiveness without major investment.

Since the introduction of digital usability testing platforms and remote testing becoming more popular wireframe testing has become an efficient and practical way for businesses to iterate quickly, gain actionable insights, and understand customer journeys.

You have the opportunity to compare different designs and solutions to a problem with simple outlines. Instead of spending time and money on making a few pages perfect without feedback to tell you if you’re on the right track.

Wireframe design testing with Poll the People allows designers to avoid complex redesigns. Wireframes should be done before visual design, not after. That would be like choosing the issue you’re solving after you decide on the solution.

When you test wireframe designs you get the same kind of feedback as to when you’re testing high-fidelity designs, just a heck of a lot earlier.

You can then change direction, redraw new wireframe designs, conduct further usability testing, and created the best designs before spending a lot of time and money.

Testing Wireframe Designs With Poll the People

Now that you know what testing is, what wireframe web designs are, and the benefits of testing them, how do you actually run a test? Here are the steps you need to take to gather actionable insights.

We have an in-depth guide to usability A/B testing and how to run a usability A/B test if you need more information.

Pro tip: Have your wireframe designs ready, import them into Poll the People, and run a test in about an hour. If you have designs ready, sign-up and start testing.  

Research & Planning

Before you choose a testing platform you need to do some research to identify the goals of your testing process, the purpose of testing, and the steps to successfully execute the test.

Part of the research and planning process is to identify your target audience and the metrics you want to record with feedback. Most of the time wireframe designs are tested on product managers, designers, or your marketing team. But with a dedicated user panel Poll the People makes it easy to learn from real users.

Through your planning and research, you want to identify goals, expected user behaviors, testing context, location (moderated or unmoderated), and who your participants will be. Communicating all of this to your team will create an effective testing process and create a successful test.

Create Variations

Once you plan your testing process you are ready to prepare your resources. In a usability A/B test you need two versions of your wireframe design to be compared.

You test these versions against each other with your goals in mind to find the wireframe that fits your business the best. The key is to create two versions that will tell you if your hypothesis is true, whatever that might be, create prototypes and compare them with a test.

Luckily, we’ve made it easy to import your designs and plug them right into a template. Keep in mind if you have more than two variations you want to test, narrow it down to your two favorites.

Our testing process is set up in about 5 minutes and takes only 60 minutes to get hundreds of responses, if you need to test more than two wireframes it can be done inexpensively and fast.

Testing only two variations at a time keeps the process simple for the users and keeps the results easy to analyze.

Run A Test

The first few parts of testing wireframe designs are on the business, now Poll the People takes over and you’re ready to quickly run a test.

Honestly, it’s one of the easiest steps in the process, all you need to do is choose from one of our templates, for wireframe design choose either an image template (for pen and paper type designs) or a webpage template (for prototypes that can be interacted with).

Once you fill out the template and select your audience, we have a panel of thousands that help you find the best design. Usually, about 150 users are enough to gain confidence in the results but choose a number that you think works best for your test.

Analyze The Results

Now that you’ve done the planning and have the test set up, sit back and watch the responses roll in. In about an hour you’ll have valuable written feedback from users that allow you to optimize your design.

Poll the People gives you easy-to-digest results dashboards and real feedback from real people. The most valuable part of the results is the clear explanations from users that helps identify issues, solutions, or new ideas.

You’ll be able to filter through the responses to find the most valuable insights. Once you find them you can make changes that really impact your business.

Make sure to remember that no matter what design you prefer the test will show you the best version. Use the feedback to make your decision, not your heart.

The last part of a wireframe test is to take the feedback you’ve gathered to optimize your business. Even some of the negative feedback will give you ways to improve your design and help create effective finished designs.

Identifying difficulties early in the wireframing process means there will be much less reworking later on. With the help of testing, you’ll give your end-users designs that meet their needs.

Conclusion

Wireframe design testing is a great way to avoid large usability issues later on in the design process.

You will want customers to be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible. The placement, layout, and size of items and menus are all important aspects of making a good user experience.

To close out this blog we want to summarize some of the main points:

  • Use simple, skeleton layouts, known as wireframe designs to optimize your website, app, or system early in the design process
  • Test variations of wireframes to avoid spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on designs that don’t work
  • Follow a usability A/B testing process to get the most out of your designs
  • Do research, planning, follow testing steps, and analyze results

Usability A/B testing is great for identifying ways to fix, optimize, or create awesome resources based on what your users need.

As you begin to create a testing culture for your wireframes you’ll find ways to improve everything you roll out to users.

Now that you have all of this information you can sign up and start testing. If you have any other questions leave us a comment or contact us. If you want to learn more about other ways to test with Poll the People take a look at our blog and resources.

12 Comment

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  8. MECLABS

    Great article! Thank you for sharing this guide on testing website wireframes. For running a test, is it okay to test it on 300 users? Or is that too much?

    1. Owen Fay

      Thanks for the question. It is certainly ok to test with 300 users or even more if you want to. We suggest about 150 responses for most tests but if you want more feedback or more confidence in the results you can choose how every man users you need.

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