NewsPosted by on November 19th, 2013
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:
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.
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.
We’re excited to hear your feedback as you experiment with this feature, so please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
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.
Jeff lays out a step-by-step guide describing what you need to consider when setting up your benchmarking study, from designing the study, to executing it and analyzing the results. He walks through critical steps like:
- Identifying the right users to test
- Finding the users
- Defining the tasks
- Defining test metrics
- Choosing sample sizes
- Analyzing the results of your benchmarking study
The post also provides a comparison (based on price and features) of some of the top testing tools, including our usability testing toolset.
Read the full article here on Measuring Usability.
We’re proud to be sponsoring the User Experience Awards this year! The UX Awards honor exceptional user experience design in digital products and services, as well as their creators.
Submissions run from now until May 15 2013, with the final Awards taking place during NY Internet Week on May 21, 2013. Last year, several startups won awards alongside digital agencies, tech and media companies. There are also cash prizes of up to $1,000 for the Grand Prize. Follow @UXAwards for the latest info.
The event starts at 5:30 and is taking place in Tishman Auditorium at the Parsons School of Design in New York.
If you’re curious about prizes: there will be one Grand Prize, three Gold, three Silver and Bronze. The Grand Prize winner also receives $1000, while Gold winners receive $250. All winners also receive additional prizes from the show’s sponsors.
We’d love to see you there!
“Findability precedes usability in the alphabet and on the Web. You can’t use what you can’t find.”—Peter Morville, in Ambient Findability
Last month, CEO Toby Biddle recently posted a guest article with our friends at UX Matters on the topic of search engine findability. Testing the usability of your existing website is a given — but we can’t overlook how people find (or perhaps more importantly, fail to find) your site on the web. Studying how people use search engines and keywords to locate sites like yours is what search engine findability is all about.
In brief, the post discusses:
- The importance of search engine findability
- How usability testing can uncover important search engine findability information not visible via your web analytics package
- How to conduct a search engine findability test (learn about a Search Engine Findability Study we ran on our platform to explore which keywords were commonly used when searching for a credit card provider)
Check out the full article here on UX Matters.
We welcome and encourage anyone creating a landing page via Unbounce to give Loop11 a test drive; you’ll be surprised what usability insights you might glean from even a simple online usability study. And of course, you can’t beat the savings behind online, unmoderated user testing as compared to the cost of putting prospective users in a room with a computer and guiding them through your study.
A big thank you to the pioneering landing page moguls over at Unbounce.
Say you’re a very busy user experience professional. You have a usability project you want to run, but you’re squeezed for time. Maybe you’re just not sure where to start and could use some professional guidance to get the usability juices flowing. It’s for you folks that we’ve recently launched project design services.
That’s right: you can have us design your project and help you get rolling. This service is available to all customers for just $25 per question (with a $500 project minimum). It includes task scenario and question formation, project management and the expert guidance you need to get your Loop11 project up and running.
Here’s how it works:
1. Sign up for a Loop11 account.
2. Send us all the details about your project using this form
3. We’ll liaise with you and create and online usability project in your account
4. You send it out and collect responses!
Of course, if you simply have a question about usability testing, or a comment you’d like to share with us, we love receiving your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you design your ideal usability study!
We’re fired up to announce the launch of Online Usability 101: a video series that promises to make you knowledgeable about user testing. Designed for aspiring user testing pros, and really anyone who’s interested in a refresher on usability testing best practices, project ideas and smart tips, the 7-video series is complimentary.
What’s covered in the course, you ask?
1) What is Usability?
2) Why Usability is Important
3) When to Conduct Usability Testing
4) Deciding What to Test
5) Selecting Participants
6) Scripting and Launching the Test
7) Analyzing the Results
Have thoughts or feedback on the video series? We’d love to know! Tell us in the comments, or write email@example.com.
Usability testing for a website in the early stages of development, before design and functionality
has been fully implemented, is widely accepted as the most appropriate stage for evaluating a new
website design. Testing at this stage provides a cost effective option by reducing the risk of having to
make significant changes after programming has begun. Typically testing at this stage is undertaken
on a wireframe or prototype of the website.
Originally the term “wireframe” referred to a quickly-rendered 3D model showing the model’s
structure used while the model maker was working. They were much faster to work with than the
full rendering, and in the field of web design they still are. Website wireframes can have a wide
range of “fidelity”—from non-interactive sketches to fully-interactive website “prototypes”.
Website wireframes are constructed instead of designing final pages, in part, because:
• Wireframes are faster.
• Information architecture and design phases can happen in parallel.
• Wireframes force viewers to focus on the content, not the visual design.
Perhaps the most important benefit of wireframes, particularly interactive HTML wireframes like
those created using ProtoShare, is the way they lend themselves to ongoing user testing. Because of
their interactivity, HTML wireframes can easily be used to conduct early-stage usability testing.
Here’s how you can quickly and easily conduct usability testing with your ProtoShare prototypes
We worked with one of ProtoShare’s customers, Artonic, who have been planning a redesign of their
own website. They created a clickable prototype of their new website design using ProtoShare.
Once the clickable prototype was created and all the pages were linked together, we came up with a
number of appropriate tasks in order to test the prototype and then we created a project in Loop11.
Here’s how to do that in Loop11:
Loop11 has a simple 5-step process for creating a usability project. Step 1 requires you to enter some
basic details about your project, including a public title, a working title, language (there are over 40
languages you can run your projects in) and introduction text for your participants.
Step 2 is the crux of a usability project; it’s where you enter the tasks you want your participants to
perform and any follow-up questions you might have for them.
To create a task you need a task name, which simply helps you differentiate one task from another
later, and the specific task scenario that you want participants to perform.
Importantly, so Loop11 can generate the metrics that help you understand how usable your
prototype is you need to enter a URL where you want your participants to commence the task
(the start URL) and then a success URL(s) which is the page of your prototype that you want to see
your participants navigate to for a specific task. These URLs come directly from your ProtoShare
prototype and just need to be copied and pasted in the appropriate fields in Loop 11.
The remaining steps in Loop11 are pretty straightforward so we haven’t covered them here.
When preparing your wireframes the level of functionality and interaction you build into them depends on the comprehensiveness of the testing you want to do. Wireframes with minimal functionality (like the Artonic wireframe) provide good feedback on site structure, labelling, and select usability issues while high-fidelity, fully clickable and functional prototypes with indicative or actual content are ideal for replicating natural browsing and all aspects of usability can be tested. One thing we like so much about ProtoShare is that you have the flexibility to build in as much interactivity in a prototype as you need—from very low-fidelity to very high-fidelity.
The final launched project in Loop11, including some additional tasks and questions we didn’t cover can be viewed here: [http://www.loop11.com/usability-test/16803/introduction/]. If you conduct the evaluation as a real life participant we’ll generate some useful results and can discuss the analysis of results in a future post.