New book provides context for Loop11′s accessibility testing services

Sarah Horton and Whitney Quesenbery recently wrote a book called A Web for Everyone that talks about the struggles people with disabilities encounter online and how modern web developers can help to lift this burden.

Quesenbery and Horton’s book brings web developers into the conversation by providing various examples that people with disabilities run into while interacting with modern technology – like Trevor, the Autistic boy with a high aptitude for technology who gets overwhelmed by a site that’s too complicated, or Jacob, the highly-intelligent paralegal who’s been blind since birth, or Maria, the community coordinator who prefers to look up information in Spanish.

These examples give a face to a statistic, they allow the web developers to see how large the population is, and the suggestions prove helpful to a company that doesn’t know what to do to help this population. The book also provides practical advice about how to do this through a slew of easy-to-read ideas and techniques.

Good news. You can get 20% off your purchase of A Web for Everyone with coupon code LOOP11.

This book matters because the global population of people with disabilities is growing every year. They have money and time to spend on your services, and they’re not going to spend that money if they’re overwhelmed by the roadblocks your site puts in front of them. Many companies are already trying to make their sites more accessible, so isn’t it time for you to do the same?

As Horton and Quesenbery mention, Loop11 has made modern usability testing affordable and accessible. We’ve recently expanded our efforts to include accessibility testing, and we’ve joined forces with Knowbility to provide a group of people with disabilities willing to be participants in usability tests.

If we can be of help to you with an accessibility testing project, get in touch with Loop11 today. 

 

[New feature] Now, you can customize the participant interface

We’re excited to announce a new Loop11 feature that’s now available to all users.

When you set up your next usability test, you’ll notice you can now customize the interface participants see. You may upload a logo as well as choose primary and secondary colors for the text and buttons participants will use during the usability study.

For instance, if Amazon were to run a usability test today, rather than the previously standard green background and Loop11 branding, the participant interface can be customized to look like this:

  Amazon 1

 Amazon 2

The customization feature can be configured in Step 1 of the project creation process. When setting up your usability test, you will now be able to “Create a new theme,” as pictured below.

 

 Amazon 3

 

Each account may have several different themes, and each theme enables you to add a custom logo and define six unique colors and attributes, as seen below.

 

Amazon 4

 

We’re excited to hear your feedback as you experiment with this feature, so please let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Customer experience vs. user experience, and why it matters

The design and user research community is all abuzz with the “customer experience” and its importance as a complement to user experience. What do the two terms mean and can businesses win by taking both areas seriously? That’s what this blog post will explore.

Before we dig deeper, let’s define our terms.

Customer experience vs. user experience

Customer experience encompasses your customer’s, or prospective customer’s, entire experience of your brand. It spans the complete conversion funnel from how they discovered your business, to the moment they landed on the website, their trials and tribulations when using it, their purchase experience, all efforts by your business to re-engage them (e.g. marketing emails, ads and retargeting), and how they experience coming back to purchase a second time. Any help or support team interaction is part of the customer experience, too. And when that customer walks into the brick and mortar location of your business after purchasing online — even that is part of the customer experience.

User experience speaks to a critical segment of the world of interactions described above: it refers to your prospective customer’s relationship with digital interfaces. How that prospective customer, or user, experiences and behaves within your brand’s website, mobile site or software — that’s user experience.

So which one deserves more focus? How should a business ensure both customer experience and user experience are top-notch? And why is this an important distinction?

User experience foreshadows the customer experience 

Simon Sinek gives an interesting TED Talk about how great leaders inspire action, and I’ll save you 18 minutes by summarizing what is arguably the top takeaway: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

He gives the example of Apple and discusses why they’ve been so successful selling portable music devices when no other computer company has had much luck in that marketplace from a revenue perspective. He posits the iPod sells because Apple believes that technology should be incredibly simple to interact with, and more importantly, we believe it too. We buy iPods because we share that philosophy, and not because we think Apple, a computer company, is the best qualified firm to design and manufacture portable music players.

In the same way, the user experience your business offers online says a lot about:

1. What your business believes.

2. What the customer can expect from your business now and always.

Customers take cues from the web experience you show them — important cues about what it will be like to continue interacting with your company, to buy from your company once or many times, and to get technical or customer support from your company.

In this way, your website’s (or mobile site’s) user experience isn’t just a subcategory of the larger, more relevant beast called “customer experience.” It’s a piece of the customer experience, yes, but your potential customers view your user experience as litmus test that foreshadows what the larger customer experience will be like.

Moreover, your potential customer is highly likely to be a web user first. That means you have a chance to win them over with your user experience and earn the opportunity to give them a larger tour of the “customer experience” mansion. It’s also a chance to lose them in the foyer if the user experience doesn’t stand up to the challenge.

We can all name high-profile companies who have focused on the customer experience and won. Their customers are more likely to be evangelists and more likely to return and purchase again year after year. They also build a tougher skin for the occasional bad service experience when loyalty has been established.

REI, Trader Joe’s, MailChimp — these are businesses that have scored big on the philosophy that an excellent customer experience at every turn and every interaction with the company is of paramount importance.

If you transact a significant chunk of your business on the web, that customer experience begins online and user experience is central. To win your prospects over and deliver stellar user experience, of course, requires testing. You have to ask them, methodically, scientifically, to tell you by the numbers whether your website or mobile site is doing its job and whether they’d recommend it to a friend.

When you’re ready to start testing, sign up for a free trial of Loop11 and your first usability testing project is on us.

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