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User Testing – Choosing Who to Target and Why

One of the key ways to ensure that you are getting the most out of your website is to understand how your visitors actually use it!

User testing is a great way of finding out what typical users think about your website and how they would typically navigate around it. At Visualsoft we have been working on a number of user testing projects with clients and each has proven to be extremely insightful. From picking out minor design changes, drawing attention to the main call to action to full-scale navigational overhauls. Most of these points are things that even us as conversion rate experts and clients as industry experts would never have thought about.

One thing when putting together any user testing plan is to seriously consider first, what elements you want to test on the site and second, whose opinion you want to get on these elements of the site. Here we’ll look into how you would determine who you want to complete the testing.

Company owners/ecommerce managers generally have a good idea of who their target market is. The brands and products they stock will lend themselves to a particular age/gender and possibly socio-economic group but there is easily accessible data that can confirm that the site is actually appealing to those demographics.

The Google analytics demographics report is a useful tool in helping to determine who is visiting your site. This is found under the Audience heading and as long as you have enabled Demographics and Interest Reports within the Property Settings it will provide information of users that visit the site that are logged in via a google account.

Gender

Here it is possible to see firstly the volumes of traffic from male users compared to female users and then the revenue, transactions and conversion rates of these groups. It is therefore possible to determine who is your most valuable group. For example, there may be slightly more male visitors than female visitors but if the female visitors typically convert significantly better and make the majority of revenue, then choosing this group would potentially provide an insight that will have a greater impact on overall revenue.

Age

Like gender this data is found in the Demographics report. Typically there may be two or three age groups that could be a focus for a test group. There may need to be a value judgement made on the number of sessions, conversion rate and revenue generated to create an age bracket to best reflect the age of the typical user but you would ideally want to choose the group that are currently visiting the site the most and spending the most on the site.

Socio-Economic

This is not a demographic that is trackable via Google analytics but it is something that should really be considered when choosing a test group. If the products are typically bought by users with higher disposable incomes (eg. Designer clothing, jewellery etc) then creating a test group of people who fall within an ABC1 demographic would probably be a good strategy to get more relevant insights.

Device

The final decision when creating a user testing strategy is the device. User testing will be set to test users on desktop, tablet or mobile devices however, the decision on which of these is not clear cut.

Again, this data can be found in analytics via the Mobile Overview under the Audience heading. For a lot of sites the majority of sales will come via a desktop device, tablet could be a close 2nd and typically mobile traffic can make up an increasingly significant proportion of traffic to a site but may not actually drive the sales. The decision therefore needs to be on what could impact sales the most. Most of the time working on the device that generates the most revenue would be a good starting point and when that has been improved, focus can be placed on the other devices.

Ultimately however there are some decisions about the group to test that will come down to what’s important for the test. For example, if the site’s usage stats suggest that the target group has historically been people aged 18-25 but there is a change to the company focus to appeal to an older group then it would make sense to focus user testing on that group to get some initial insights, maybe ahead of a re-branding or site redesign.

The clear thing to be aware of is ensuring that there is an overall aim for the user testing and that audiences and tasks are put into a strategy with that in mind.

Looking to find out more about how user testing can help improve your business? Contact our sales team today on 01642 622604 for expert advice.

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