2011 was a big year, not just for world despots, but for Loop11 too. Whilst global dictators everywhere fell to revolutions, Loop11 contributed its part to the remote, unmoderated usability testing revolution. As revealed in the recent UPA biennial survey the use of remote unmoderated testing grew by 28%. Our own usage statistics also show some interesting figures which we thought we would share with you here.
Here are some big numbers about Loop11 in 2011:
… 60,456 participants:
That’s right! 60,456 participants from all over the world took part in Loop11 usability testing projects. From Brazil to Japan and students to retirees, people of all ages and places participated in Loop11 usability tests.
… 2165 usability testing projects created:
2165 different projects were created using Loop11. Whether our customers wanted to test a current website, benchmark their competitors or test a new design, Loop11’s various capabilities allowed them to conduct a variety of usability studies.
… 34 languages:
Projects were created in 34 of the 42 different languages available. Of the 2165 projects created, 72% were in English followed by 4% in Spanish, 3% in German and 2% in Portuguese.
… Over 30 countries:
Our customers from all around the world used Loop11 to conduct remote usability studies. From China to Australia, Loop11 was used by people everywhere and anywhere to conduct remote usability testing!
… Dozens of different devices:
As more and more people used Loop11, one of our best features really came to fore. Loop11 was used to conduct usability testing on an array of different internet enabled devices. PCs, iPhones, iPads, Androids and all sorts of other internet enabled devices. We even had someone test the usability of an ATM interface by putting the interface online and using an iPad as the touchscreen. Now that is genius!
… 4,300 new customers:
Overall, it was a great year for Loop11. With 4300 new customers who signing up to Loop11.
We’re sure 2012 will be an even better year. With the growing demand for remote usability testing, and with more new cutting edge features and quirky promotions coming your way, we aim to raise the bar once again.
Happy New Year and Happy Testing!
We’re celebrating Christmas nice and early this year. If you planned on spending your left over quarterly budget on eggnog and Christmas decorations, we’re hoping that you do the responsible thing instead and buy yourself a UXmas present.
We called it UXmas because it includes four great tools at a gift of a price. They are User eXperience enhancing tools that will make life easier for you and make your site better, easier and more effective.
So here’s our UXmas offer:
You get 3 user testing projects for $700, saving $350. If you’ve already got an account we’ll credit the extra time to it.
You get to vote on which three of the following three excellent tools you want us to include for free. Each option has 12 months access and is fully featured:
• OpenHallway (Worth $624)
Record screencast video and audio of users testing your website, locally or remotely – all from the comfort of your browser
• ConceptShare (Worth $600)
Markup visual designs collaboratively, sketch directly onto images, compare alternatives side-by-side and collaborate and get approval remotely.
• HotGloo (Worth $336)
Rapid collaborative wireframing – design your page layout and focus on your message, your navigation and your interaction before you add graphics.
• SnapEngage (Worth $540)
Live chat with your site visitors and customers.
• Websort (Worth $2,499)
Card sorting is a simple but effective way to discover how people think your site content should be organized.
• Plainframe (Worth $1,499)
Allows you to easily and quickly put your navigation structure into a plain, clickable site.
Hopefully that covers all the bases. $1,050 worth of user testing projects (3 studies), for $700, and 12 months access to the three most popular UX tools for free.
The UXmas offer will only be available for two days starting on Thursday 15th December, but you will be able to request an invoice/purchase order and pay within 21 days. Please start talking to whoever needs to authorise the payment and any other teams that may want to use the bonus tools.
Merry Christmas and Happy Testing!
Loop11 will be conducting a scheduled server upgrade on Saturday December 3rd, 2011 beginning at 21:00 PM UTC (Co-ordinated Universal Time), and lasting up to 1 hour.
During this time, the Loop11.com website and systems, will be temporarily inaccessible. Any content hosted on Loop11.com will not be accessible by you or your project participants. During this time a message will be posted on the Loop11 website alerting visitors of the scheduled maintenance. This should only take an hour, and once restored, all your content and data will be back online.
• Eastern Daylight Time (North America): Saturday, July 17: 4:00pm
• Greenwich Mean Time (Europe): Saturday, July 17: 9:00pm
• Eastern Standard Time (Australia): Sunday, July 18: 10:00am
We appreciate your patience and can assure you the service will be restored as quickly as possible. We also wanted to point out some recent improvements:
• Participant instructions page can now be skipped. For anyone running True Intent studies,
the original instructions to participants were not quite suitable. Instructions can now be completely skipped.
• Custom IDs. If you want to track participants so you know who to provide incentives to, you
can customise the end of the URL with a unique ID for each participant. Learn more.
For additional time zones, please reference www.timeanddate.com.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused, if you have any queries relating to this notice please email us at Support@Loop11.com.
One of the most common uses of Loop11 is to test the usability of wireframes, prototypes and concepts. This newfound power has surprised some people, as for the first time they can now test the usability of wireframes, as easily as they can a website. You may have read the Boeing Credit Union wireframe case study, and wondered how it was done. Well, for those of you wondering, this is how to test wireframes using Loop11.
Well for those wondering how, this is how to test wireframes using Loop11:
- 1. Design some wireframes
- 2. Export your wireframes in HTML
- 3. Upload the exported wireframes to a public domain
- 4. In Loop11, enter the URL of the wireframe as the starting point URL (see below)
Create some tasks and questions to suitably test their usability and Tthat’s pretty much it! Now test it as you would a normal website. Now there are no excuses, we expect a massive influx of wireframe usability tests now.
If you would like to know more about wireframe testing, checkout our case studies here or contact as at support@Loop11.com.
As you are reading this, dozens of our clients are running remote usability studies in an array of different languages. In the 2 years that Loop11 has operated, clients have run all sorts of usability tests in over 20 languages. Some of our clients in fact conduct the exact same test in multiple languages, which makes a lot sense if your website is multilingual. As you can see from the chart below, English is still the predominant language, but clearly the rest of the world is coming.
So we wanted to give a shout out to all the languages already being used in Loop11, such as; French, German, Russian, Suomi, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, Swedish, Czech, Polish, Chinese, Portuguese and even Bahasa. But more importantly, we want to remind people that Loop11 is capable of running user tests in over 40 languages, which means that there many more languages yet to be tried in Loop11.
Got a website in a foreign language you want tested? Try Loop11 for free.
Between October 10, 2011 and November 10th 2011, the more @Loop11 tweets there are the bigger the discount will be on November 11th, 2011. You won’t get a chance like this for another 100 years!
We have set five thresholds:
- 100 Tweets = $300
- 250 Tweets = $250
- 500 Tweets = $100
- 750 Tweets = $50
- 1000 Tweets = $11
Happy tweeting and testing!
There is a misguided notion that good SEO and usability need to clash. Some companies insist on focusing their resources on usability rather than SEO, and other companies take the opposite approach. There is no doubt that SEO and usability have two completely different goals. The goal of SEO is to rank highly in search engines for specific keywords, and the goal of usability is to make the online experience as user-friendly as possible. Traditionally, SEO friendly pages were usually filled with text links and keywords, making the webpage virtually impossible to use. However with the changes to the way Google indexes pages, good SEO and good usability can live side by side. These days, it’s all about defining goals, and striking the perfect balance.
So we put together a checklist of ten things to consider when creating the perfect balance between good SEO and good usability:
- 1. Identify Goals.
What is the goal of your website? Impressions, sign-ups or enquiries? Whether your website’s goal is conversion based or impression based should determine which direction to take regarding SEO and usability. If your website is all about impressions for display ads, then you probably won’t care much for usability.
- 2. Identify Your Audience.
Defining your audience will help validate your design, branding and marketing. Research this thoroughly.
- 3. Checkout Your Competitors.
Seeing what strategies your competitor’s are using will enlighten and inspire you. Are their website’s SEO or usability heavy? Are there any opportunities to exploit?
- 4. Usability Testing.
This is a crucial step. Does your website work? Is it usable? Depending on your experience and resources, there are various usability testing methods available, but we obviously recommend Loop11 as a usability testing solution for both novices and seasoned professionals. Any findings relating to bad navigation or usability should be addressed, and unless your website’s success is based on impressions, usability should over-ride SEO.
- 5. 508 Compliance.
Making your website 508 compliant will help both usability and SEO. Not only will pages load correctly in all browsers for all types of users, but good usability also means visitors will be able to use the site. From an SEO point of view, Google factors in the duration and pages per visits when indexing pages now.
- 6. Titles / Heading Tags.
This is potentially the most important area to strike a perfect balance between SEO and usability. The title tag is the most important on page factor for search engine indexing. But it is also the first thing the user sees. Obviously, headers are secondary to titles, but are still important. A good title / headline tag focuses on 1-2 keyword themes… nothing more! Headers and titles should be an extension of your keyword themes, reinforcing them. Every page of your website should have a different title. This makes both good SEO and good usability.
- 7. Keywords.
Once you have identified your main keyword themes. Don’t be tempted to stuff them all over your website. These days it’s bad SEO and usability. This applies to content, as well as metadata such as “alt” tags and page descriptions. Use tags exactly how they are meant to be used. For example, the “alt” tag should state exactly what that image is.
Your home page can’t be everything to everyone. So, identify 3-4 keyword themes, and use them on the relevant areas of your website. Just as importantly, make sure the content makes sense and reads correctly.
- 8. Landing Doorway Pages.
These days, this is both bad usability and SEO! If you have any, get rid of them! The Google-bot is now able to differentiate between genuine webpages and pages used to spamdex.
- 9. Links.
When creating internal links, it’s important to strike a balance between relevant keywords and good communication. Make sure your internal links are relevant. For example, if you have a link on your homepage going to a page about brown dogs. It would make good usability and SEO to label it “Brown Dogs” or “Learn More About Brown Dogs” rather than “click here for more dogs”
Dealing with external links has very little to do with usability. The only important SEO factor, is quantity, not quality. Logically, If there is a link to your website on cnet.com, Google will weight it a lot more than a link on a small time blog.
- 10. Structure
A well thought-out structure with the relevant names / titles / subdomains will help both usability and SEO. An internal linking structure that links to your most important pages should also be considered. Consider a bread-crumb navigational menu for both good SEO and usability.
Jeff Sauro at Measuring Usability, has put together another great blog post comparing preferred methods of usability testing by usability professionals over the past six years. Based on the last three biennial UPA surveys, Jeff determined that there was a 28% increase in people using remote, unmoderated usability testing tools like Loop11. Jeff states that the reason for the increase is that remote testing tools are an inexpensive and effective way of measuring task based, quantitative usability data.
Read the full post here: The Methods UX Professionals Use – MeasuringUsability.com
Also check out: 2011 UPA Survey Results
Loop11 will be conducting scheduled maintenance on Sunday July 17th, 2011 beginning at 22:00 PM UTC (Co-ordinated Universal Time), and lasting up to 4 hours.
During this time, the Loop11.com website will be temporarily inaccessible. Any content hosted on Loop11.com will not be accessible by you or your project participants. During this time a message will be posted on the Loop11 website alerting visitors of the scheduled maintenance.
This is a major service upgrade including database improvements and server updates. We appreciate your patience and can assure you the service will be restored as quickly as possible.
• Eastern Daylight Time (North America): Sunday, July 17: 6:00pm
• Greenwich Mean Time (Europe): Sunday, July 17: 11:00pm
• Eastern Standard Time (Australia): Monday, July 18: 8:00am
For additional time zones, please reference www.timeanddate.com.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused, if you have any queries relating to this notice please email us at Support@Loop11.com.
The influx of remote usability testing tools has started to change the way usability testing is conducted. There are new techniques and different metrics to consider when conducting user research now.
This post is not aimed at polarizing people or making people pick remote testing over lab based testing, it has been written to differentiate some of the capabilities of the two methods.
So we put a list together of 7 things you can do with remote user testing that you can’t do with lab based testing. Firstly, it’s important to understand that when we talk about remote usability testing tools, we mean full service, unmoderated “quantitative tools”. To understand the difference, you can read Bill Albert’s article on remote testing tools.
Seven Things Remote Testing CAN DO That Lab Testing CAN’T:
- 1. Test early, test often…affordably
Remote testing is much more cost effective than lab based testing, which means you can test at every stage of the development lifecycle, from wireframes to a live website. Or conduct benchmarking studies on a weekly or monthly basis to see how changes to your website affect usability. Lab-based testing can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which usually results in lab-based testing not being run very often by most companies. Remote testing tools usually cost just a few hundred dollars, making it easy to test on a much more frequent basis, thus creating the opportunity to run more regular studies.
- 2. True Intent Studies
True intent studies focus around a user’s real aim when using a website. What is their goal on your website, how do they go about it, and did they achieve their goal? These are the main objectives. True intent studies can only be run online because you must intercept users as they visit your website so you can observe their natural behaviour.
- 3. Get large numbers of “hard to get” users in their own environment
You can test hundreds of people simultaneously, in their natural environment. Whether you need a doctor or French speaker in China, online panels let you tap in to the thousands of unique demographics out there.
- 4. Get more in-house people involved
Remote usability testing is a great way of introducing usability testing into a company using limited resources and budget. Typically, most companies only involve a few people in lab-based usability studies. Remote online testing enables other parties to reap the benefits and even get involved. Quantitative metrics will show your IT guys why changes are needed to your website, and the finance guys will have the stats they need to understand why money needs to be spent.
- 5. Get statistically significant data
Lab-based usability testing is all about identification of usability issues and qualitative reasoning, not about quantification. Due to the small number of participants in lab testing (usually 5-10) compared to the hundreds or even thousands in remote testing, one simply can’t generate the quantitative reports that high level company decision makers may want to see. However, with remote user testing you can quash any in-house differences of opinion by getting the hard facts about your website’s user experience.
- 6. Special technology
Some interfaces just don’t make any sense to test outside their intended usage environment. Maybe you are running a user test on Facebook. The test involves uploading personal work with personal email contacts, pictures, videos and more. For this, you need the users to have their own email contacts, photos, videos and more. Having them bring their laptop or media to a lab isn’t going to do the study justice. Remote testing would allow them to use their own equipment at their own place…saving time, money and improving the quality of the results.
Or, let’s say you’re testing a recipe website that guides users step-by-step through preparing a meal; it wouldn’t make much sense to take people out of their kitchen, where they’re unable to perform the task of interest. When this is the case, remote research is usually the most practical solution, unless the users also lack the necessary equipment. We also call this the participant’s “technological ecosystem” because it implies that their devices and computing environment have an impact on how they interact.*
*The term “technological ecosystem” and the above example of a recipe website was originally written by Nate Bolt in his article “Pros and Cons of Remote Usability Testing”.
- 7. Online accessibility testing
Now, let’s say you’re still testing that recipe website, except this time you need to test it for accessibility. Meaning you need to determine if there are any barriers that might prevent people with unique physical or mental needs from using the step-by-step recipe website in their own homes. It would be virtually impossible to replicate the technology and assistive devices of users with special needs, so the best way to do this is online.
One of the best summaries of lab testing compared to remote testing was given by Nate Bolt in his June, 2010 post “Pros and Cons of Remote Usability Testing”.
As Nate said:
“Both in-person and remote UX research share the same broad purpose: to understand how people interact and behave with the interface you’ve made. There’s no need to set up a false opposition between the two approaches—one isn’t inherently better than the other. Despite the versatility of remote research, there are lots of reasons you might want to conduct an in-person study instead, most of which have to do with timing, security, equipment, or the type of interaction you want to have with participants.”