What is User Experience or UX Testing?


What is User Testing?

When you build your website, prepare a new campaign or make some changes to your customer buying process, you as an individual or as an organisation may be biased towards what you believe is the right or obvious thing that your customers needs to do... and to do next.

And of course you might be right. You might have designed the perfect customer journey which is intuitive enough to allow your all of your potential customers to easily find what they want, evaluate alternatives, locate additional information about the product, select it, add it to their shopping basket, add their details, pay, buy and receive confirmation via screen and email.

But unless you ask others to evaluate that experience for themselves, with no prior knowledge of your company, your website or your products, no familiarity with jargon which you use every day but could be alien to your customer, and completely unaware of what the fancy icons you have added to your web pages mean, how do you know how easy or difficult it would be for a potential customer to make a purchase?


How can user experience testing help?

To have someone independent who can take on a persona for a certain customer type and report back to you on their experience is basically what user testing is about.

Does this mean that literally anyone could do your user testing for you? Well in theory, yes. But if their experiences could be recorded in a way that allows you to physically see how they interacted with your website, and hear them thinking out loud as they looked for products, features, options, information, etc., this can be very valuable feedback.

They could describe what they liked or disliked about their experience, and whether they found anything to be confusing, distracting, cluttered, hard to read, etc. There might have been expectations they had which were either met or missed, and they might have some useful suggestions for improvement.

This feedback could be communicated back to your marketing team or your web development team so that any suggestions for changes or improvements can be considered.


How easy is your customer journey?

The term customer journey is used to describe the process or steps that a potential customer takes through the buying process.

It can start at the homepage of your website, a landing page for a special offer, an email promotion, a direct link from a portal on a corporate partner's website, or one of many other start points. And ideally it should end with a purchase, an order confirmation email, or some other indication to show that you have just made a successful sale to a customer who will hopefully return to do it all again.

So what could be in a customer journey which is worth you paying attention to? After all, it's obvious what the customer needs to do, right?

Let's imagine that your business rents cars.

  • Is it easy for a customer to find and select a car at a location of their choosing, and for the dates and times they need the car for?
  • Is the information about size, number of seats, fuel type, transmission type, etc., clear to find, and does it come with a sat nav fitted and included in the price?
  • What about insurance cover? What is mandatory and what is optional at an additional cost, and how much is the insurance excess for the vehicle they’re selecting?
  • Is there a minimum age limit for the cars available, and is this clearly communicated to the potential customer early enough in the buying process so that they do not select and reserve a vehicle that they will not be allowed to drive?
  • Will a child seat suitable for the customer's specific child fit the car, and can they add this child seat and other options to their booking?
  • Does the price include all taxes and mandatory charges?
  • Are the directions to the car rental location easy to locate on the website and are they clear to understand?

A lot of questions, but very valid ones, and this could be the tip of the iceberg because different users (potential customers) have different requirements, and they also have different expectations and levels of experience. That's why testing for different personas can be useful.


What is a persona?

What do we mean by persona in the context of user experience testing? Well let’s stay with the car hire scenario for now, but this could be just as relevant to someone booking flights, making a hotel reservation, and so many other cases.

Testing Persona Use Case 1

A guy in his mid 20’s who wants to take his fiancé away for a few days might want to impress her and therefore isn’t going to be attracted to the cheapest car available.

He might want something more sporty, and the thought of driving along the coast in an open top car with the sun beating down and the wind in their hair really appeals to him and is bound to impress his fiancé!

He isn’t particularly interested in the insurance options, because that’s not on his mind... he just wants to impress, but it still might be to your advantage and to his that he is made aware of insurance options.

So he visits your website and embarks on his own customer journey:

  • Can he find the car he wants to help make this an exciting and memorable time?
  • He might be so focussed on the glamour aspect of the car he wants to rent that he might not be aware of some options (ie insurance) which might be to his benefit.
  • Is there any important information which he NEEDS to be made aware of such as any age restrictions, and how can this be achieved whilst he is so focussed on booking a flashy car for a few days.
  • If, as a guy in his mid 20s, he is not old enough to rent his dream car, can you offer him a suitable alternative so he still ends up making a reservation with you if the price is right?

So he visits your website and embarks on his own customer journey:

  • Can he find the car, features, equipment and information that he needs?
  • Was he clear on the terms and conditions of the special offer?
  • Was he able to apply the discount code for the special offer, and was it clear to him that the offer code was accepted and that all of the prices shown were inclusive of the discount?
  • Provided that the price is right, will he buy?

Testing Persona Use Case 2

In contrast a guy in his mid 40’s has booked a holiday in the US in July for his wife, his 2 year old son and 7 year old daughter.

He has searched on Google for cheap car rental in Orlando and found a promotional page for a special deal for 20% off bookings within a certain date range.

He’s on a tight budget, but the cheapest car simply won’t be big enough for all 4 passengers and their luggage. He also needs two child seats which are suitable for the ages and sizes of his children.

A sat nav is important, and someone has mentioned to him that a PlatePass might be cheaper than paying at the tolls. He also wants to allow his wife to drive occasionally, and so will need to make sure that his reservation has an additional driver option, and he will need to know the cost.

He also wants to know about what could happen if the car breaks down, and if there would be any additional charges if he returns the vehicle early.

So he visits your website and embarks on his own customer journey:

  • Can he find the car, features, equipment and information that he needs?
  • Was he clear on the terms and conditions of the special offer?
  • Was he able to apply the discount code for the special offer? Was it clear to him that the offer code was accepted and that all of the prices shown are inclusive of the discount, or will this be applied at the end of the booking process?
  • Provided that the price is right, will he buy?

So two different visitors to the same car rental website, but with very different requirements. Can you now understand the reason for taking on and testing for specific personas?


Get in Touch

If you would like to discuss anything further, feel free to reach us by email or phone as follows:

    Email: daron@targaweb.com
    Phone: 01406 373511

What is User Experience or UX Testing? What is User Experience or UX Testing?