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User Testing for Small Business

Thursday 6 October 2011 - Filed under Usability News

If you think back a few years ago Web Design was booming. Even several years after the dot com bubble had burst companies who wanted to implement and manage a great website would have to devout thousands to their chosen web design agency.

As I write this blog this is no longer the case. The choice is endless. It can cost as little as $50 to design, implement and manage a website. Affordable to someone who runs an Ebay store and suitable for even a large corporation. You can choose from impressive CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems, customisable templates and packages that can be pay as you go, licensed or even open source that are free to use.

The businesses that could see round the corner bought into these new innovations and technologies allowing them to often gain the competitive advantages that small business needs to stay in the game. Oh yes every now and then the web technology takes a great leap forward and now those who went from A to C without going through B have nothing to envy from the web presences of the large corporations.  Many benefitted but most are playing catch up.

Complex Analytical tools now form parts of even the cheapest web presence packages.

If you had first hands experience of this leap forward you might be able to relate to the comparison that i’m about to make.
Think of it like this. So you managed to battle your way through the painstaking process of getting your business up and running. You may have had an even bigger battle in getting an ‘up to standard’ web presence for your customers. Speaking from experience I myself at this point had expected to be inundated with interest and enquiries, but I wasn’t. Maybe a little naive but let’s just say it didn’t get the reaction from the internet population that I might have expected. Theres the comparison. You can access the most advanced tools out there to let you know where and when a user left your site, but they can’t say why.

There is the most important question in Usability Testing. Why do users leave your website?
For many large businesses Usability Testing has become the most important analysis in product development second only to the quality of the product or service itself. At the moment though if you search for Usability Testing the chances are you will be inundated with companies offering  the basic model for User Testing which usually involves you commissioning Users to provide you with You Tube style voice over videos. The Testing user will click around your site and well say what he or she wants. Now this has a place in the market and might be suitable for some but in my opinion the Usability Testing market has become saturated without these homemade videos and is crying out for something better. I mean there is an apparent lack of imagination from User Testing companies here and unfortunately this inadequate Testing User method has become the industry norm.

It’s widespread as well. The feedback we at Testing Users have received from small business is that for those brave enough to experiment with Usability Testing it’s often too expensive to gain any significant feedback. At the other end of the scale large corporations voice their concerns that even with large usability budgets they feel this method is ‘second best’ as a means to connect with their users.

Look at this way, most Testing User videos will cost an average of $40 dollars all the way up to $100 per video. One video is one persons opinion and any Usability Test worth it’s salt will sample a wide range of Testing Users. Most Usability experts agree this is somewhere between 50 and 100 participants. Expensive with Video Testing right?

Like I say though it’s the stubborn usability industries problem though. This is an uneconomical and un-comprehensive User Testing Method.

I had a frank conversation with the Product Manager of a small ceramics business located in Dallas, TX. He highlighted to me the concerns he had. After commissioning five testing videos for a total of $300 he was sorely disappointed with the results, he described them as “something his teenage son could have done” and went to tell us of his frustration regarding the man hours it took to extract and quantify any meaningful data so that he could produce a report to present to his Managing Director.

The Testing User Analysis is tackling these concerns.  There are no businesses out there that don’t want clients to return to their web site and of course be retained.

Furthermore no business wants to see empty shopping baskets and clients leaving due to distraction or confusion about their website.

Its now affordable for any business to tackle the changes that need to be made to their website before they hit you.
Through the Testing User Analysis the changes have arrived and now any business large or small can now access affordable and comprehensive Usability Testing as the next step to improving their web presence.

2011-10-06  »  admin



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