AB Testing on Caffeine

Ramon didn’t see it coming. He just drank his cup of coffee. He sat down in front of the computer and logged into Google Analytics. All ready to take on the day and get some work done. But as Ramon scrolls through the website’s metrics, he can’t help but feel deflated. “The conversion rate is low and has been for a while now,” he said to himself. Over the last three months, while working on his company’s new product, he and his team had toiled away, making countless design decisions. They had user-tested their designs and made sure that the user experience was as smooth as possible. But they forgot to perform AB testing.

Surely all of their efforts would pay off when they launched the product. But then the numbers came in. Despite all of their hard work, the product wasn’t performing as well as they had hoped. Customers were struggling to use it and weren’t converting at the rates they had expected. Faced with this disappointing news, Ramon realized that he needed to take a different approach. For Ramon, and for anyone else in a similar situation, the key is to take a data-driven approach to product design. In other words, don’t just rely on your team’s instincts when making design decisions. Instead, use data to guide your decisions and continually test and iterate on your designs.

I was working with a client who sells coffee beans. We’ll call her Sarah. Sarah’s website wasn’t generating a lot of traffic and she was struggling to convert the traffic she did have into sales. I suggested that we start running some A/B tests on her site to see if we could improve her conversion rate. The first test we ran was on the home page. We tested two different versions of the home page: one with a picture of Sarah and one without. The version with Sarah generated more sales, so we implemented that as the new home page.

The second test we ran was on the product pages. We tested two different versions of the product pages: one with a video and one without. The version with the video generated more sales, so we implemented that as the new product page. We continued running tests and made a few more small changes that resulted in big increases in Sarah’s conversion rate. In the end, we were able to increase her conversion rate by 400%.

ab-testing

What can you do to increase conversions on your website?

One option is AB testing.

A/B testing is a randomized experiment with two variants, A and B. Variant A is the control group, while variant B is the treatment group. The goal of A/B testing is to compare these two groups and see which one performs better with regard to a certain metric, such as clicks, purchases, or sign-ups. Adobe also discovered that short-form video content led to a significant increase in conversion rates. In one A/B test, Adobe found that replacing a long-form video on their home page with a shorter one increased conversion rates by 100%.

To run an A/B test, you first need to decide on the metric you want to optimize for. This could be clicks, purchases, sign-ups, or anything else that is important to your business. Once you’ve decided on the metric, you need to create two variants of your website or app (A and B). Variant A is the control group and should be identical to your current website or app. Variant B is the treatment group and should be different from the control in some way. For example, if you’re testing a button color, variant A would have the current button color and variant B would have a different button color.

After you’ve created the two variants, you need to send traffic to both of them and measure the results. This is where things can get a bit technical, but there are many great resources (like this one) that can help you set up your test and track the results. Once you have the data from your A/B test, you can analyze it to see which variant performed better. The variant that performed better is the one you should implement on your live website or app.

A/B testing is an essential tool for any business that wants to optimize its website or app for conversions. By running A/B tests, you can make data-driven decisions about what works best for your business and eliminate guesswork. If you’re not already A/B testing, I highly encourage you to start. It could be the key to increasing conversions on your website or app.

Here are five tips for doing successful ab testing:

Doing Work

1. Formulate a hypothesis before you start designing

Before you start designing anything, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve. Once you have a good understanding of your goals, you can formulate a hypothesis about how best to achieve them. For example, let’s say you’re designing a checkout flow for an eCommerce website. Your goal is to increase conversion rates. One hypothesis might be that customers are more likely to convert if they’re only presented with one payment option (e.g. credit card) rather than multiple options (e.g. credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, Facebook Pay, etc.). Examples of questions you should ask yourself before starting to design are:

What is the goal of this design?

The goal of any customer needs to be defined up-front. Nothing is worse than designing something beautiful that doesn’t actually achieve the company’s goals. Or worse, arriving at the wrong location. The goal of the design also provides a great starting point for the next question. When it comes to A/B testing, less is more. The goal is to find out which variant performs better with regard to the metric you’re optimizing for, not to redesign your entire website or app.

What metric will you use to measure success?

This is critical. You can’t just assume that because the design looks good, it must be successful. Without a metric, you have no way of knowing whether or not your design is actually effective. Once you’ve decided on a metric, make sure to track it throughout the duration of your test so that you can compare the results of the two variants (A and B).

What problem am I trying to solve?

A great design always solves a problem. Understanding what that problem is gives you much-needed context to make informed decisions about the design. For example, if your goal is to increase conversion rates, then the problem you’re solving is how to get people to complete the checkout process. Once you know that, you can start thinking about solutions. In our example, one solution might be to simplify the checkout flow so that there are fewer steps.

What are my assumptions about the best way to solve this problem?

Your assumptions will guide your design decisions, so it’s important to make them explicit. In our example, one assumption might be that customers are more likely to convert if they’re only presented with one payment option. This assumption will help you make decisions about what to include (and not include) in your design. “Assumptions are beliefs that we hold to be true without any proof,” says designer Jarrod Drysdale. “They can be helpful because they simplify complex problems and help us make quick decisions. But they can also be dangerous because they can lead us astray if we’re not careful.”

Direction for breakfast

2. Test one change at a time

When you’re running an A/B test, it’s important to only test one change at a time. This might seem like common sense, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of testing multiple changes at once. For example, let’s say you want to test two different designs for your website’s home page. Design A has a green button and design B has a red button. You might be tempted to create two variants of your home page, one with the green button and one with the red button. But this is not an A/B test! This is a multiple-variables test.

The problem with multiple-variable tests is that you won’t be able to isolate the effect of each individual change. If design B outperforms design A, you won’t be able to say for sure whether it’s because of the color of the button or something else entirely. That’s why it’s important to only test one change at a time. In our example, you would create two variants of your home page: variant A would have the green button and variant B would have the red button. This way, you can be confident that any difference in performance is due to a single change: the color of the button.

University of North Carolina professor Andrew Campbell says, “When you’re testing multiple changes at the same time, the results are hard to interpret. You don’t know what’s causing the difference in performance.” He then goes on to say, “It’s important to test one change at a time so that you can be confident that the results are due to that single change.”

3. Test your designs with real users

One of the most common mistakes people make when running A/B tests is testing their designs with the wrong audience. It’s important to test your designs with real users because they’re the ones who will be using your product or service. For example, if you’re designing a website for a new online store, it wouldn’t make sense to test it with people who are not interested in shopping online. Similarly, if you’re designing an app for a messaging service, it wouldn’t make sense to test it with people who don’t use messaging apps. A statistical analysis by Neil Patel found that “59% of companies test their designs with the wrong audience.” Patel says, “This is a huge mistake because it leads to inaccurate results. If you want accurate results, you need to test your designs with the people who will actually be using them.”

The best way to find real people to test your designs is to use a tool like UserTesting.com or Optimal Workshop. These tools allow you to find and recruit real users who match your target audience. Once you’ve found some users, you can then ask them to complete tasks using your designs. This will give you valuable feedback about what works and what doesn’t work for your target audience.

Droid user

4. Design for multiple devices and screen sizes

In today’s world, it’s important to design for multiple devices and screen sizes. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web, so it’s important to make sure your designs are responsive. This means that they should look good on both large and small screens. One way to test your designs on multiple devices is to use a tool like BrowserStack or Ghostlab. These tools allow you to test your designs on multiple browsers and devices. This is important because it allows you to find any issues with your design before you launch it.

Babe Reads iPad, I Prefer My Droid

Testing your designs on multiple devices is also important because it allows you to find any issues with your design before you launch it. For example, if you’re designing a website for a new online store, you might want to test it on both a desktop computer and a mobile device. This way, you can make sure the checkout process is easy to use on both devices. “You can’t just design for one screen size and expect it to work on all devices. You need to test your designs on as many devices as possible,” says Raluca Budiu, a UX researcher at Google.

Testing your designs on multiple devices is important, but it’s also time-consuming. That’s why it’s important to prioritize which devices you’re going to test. In general, you should test on the most popular devices first. This way, you can make sure your designs are responsive and look good on the most popular devices.

Testing your designs is important, but it’s only one part of the equation. You also need to make sure your designs are accessible to everyone. This means that they should be able to be used by people with disabilities. “Accessibility is often overlooked, but it’s important to consider when you’re designing for multiple devices,” says Raluca Budiu. “You need to make sure your designs are accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability.” One way to test for accessibility is to use a tool like WAVE. This tool allows you to test your designs for common accessibility issues. This is important because it allows you to fix any issues before you launch your design.

5. Iterate based on user feedback

Once you’ve launched your design, it’s important to get feedback from real people. This feedback will help you improve your design and make it more user-friendly. One way to get feedback from employees is to use a tool like UserVoice or GetSatisfaction. These tools allow you to collect feedback from users in an easy-to-use format. You can then use this feedback to improve your design.

Another way to get feedback from people is to ask them directly. This can be done through surveys, polls, or interviews. Surveys are a great way to collect quantitative data about how people feel about your design. Polls are a great way to collect qualitative data about specific aspects of your design. And interviews are a great way to collect in-depth feedback about your design. “Talking to users is the best way to understand how they feel about your design,” says Raluca Budiu. “It’s important to get feedback from as many users as possible so you can improve your design.”

Once you’ve collected feedback from users, it’s time to launch your design. This is where the real work begins. After you launch your design, you need to monitor how users interact with it. This will help you identify any issues with your design and make necessary changes. One way to do this is to use a tool like Google Analytics or Mixpanel. These tools allow you to track how humans interact with your design. This is important because it allows you to improve your design based on real people’s data. Design is a never-ending process. You should always be testing, iterating, and improving your designs.

expert

Bottom Line:

The coffee bean example is a great way to understand the user experience process. By TESTING your design on multiple devices, you can make sure it’s RESPONSIVE and looks good on the most popular devices. And by getting feedback from real humans, you can improve your design and make it more user-friendly. A consistent user experience is key to a successful design. The words of the famous poet Maya Angelou ring especially true when it comes to design: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” So TEST your designs, get feedback from humans, and ITERATE based on that feedback. These are the key to a successful user experience.

What’s in it for you? A return on investment.

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