The Usability Myth
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The Usability Myth

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  • The test result in #1 isn't so surprising when considering the notion of banner blindness as discussed by Jakob Nielsen and others. The signup form on the control may be judged to be irrelevant ads and thus overlooked.
    Also the finding is somewhat in line with the observation from Zurb, that 'preparing' people for signup by 'burying' the signup CTA actually increases conversion: http://www.zurb.com/article/816/why-burying-sign-up-buttons-helps-get-mor

    #3 Isn't so surprising when considering the psychological fact that people - when faced with (too) many options - are having a hard time making a decision. Susan Weinschenk and others are discussing this phenomenon.
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The Usability Myth The Usability Myth Presentation Transcript

  • The Usability Myth:4 Surprising discoveries we learned after testingthe most common usability principles #webclinic
  • Drive Conversions and Revenue Built for commerce: Conversions, transactions and revenue Highly personal, relevant email and cross-channel marketing Sophisticated made simple White papers, webinars and more at bronto.com/resources
  • JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON TWITTER #webclinic #webclinic
  • TODAY’S TEAM Dr. Flint McGlaughlin – Director, MECLABS Group Flint McGlaughlin is the Director of MECLABS Group. The organization has partnered with key market leaders including The New York Times, Microsoft Corporation, and Reuters Group. Dr. McGlaughlin also serves as the Director of Enterprise Research at the Transforming Business Institute, University of Cambridge (UK) and served as a former Trustee for Westminster Theological Centre. Dr. McGlaughlin originally studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of London’s Specialist Jesuit College. Today, his primary research is focused on enterprise as transformative agent. His work has won multiple awards and has been quoted in more than 13,000 online and offline sources. #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: BACKGROUND Experiment ID: (Protected) Location: MarketingExperiments Research Library Test Protocol Number: TP1283 Research Notes: Background: Italian ecommerce website offering cosmetics. The researchers were focusing on testing different approaches to the “body” category page. Goal: To increase the rate of conversion Primary Research Question: Which page will generate the highest rate of conversion? Approach: A/B variable cluster test #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: CONTROL Control – Category List • The control listed all the main categories of “body” products: • Deodorants • Moisturizers • Toner • Skin • Hair remover • Feet • Hands • Mouth • Scrubs and Specials • Accessories • Combination Offers • Products are all listed below by category as selected #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: CONTROL Control – Category List Is the category list at the top of the page the most user-friendly way to present the information? #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT 1 T1 – Configurator • Treatment 1 seeks to make the page easier to use by adding an interactive configurator that enables the visitor to customize the products that show up below. • By Category • By Objective • By Product Line #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT 2 T2 – Visual Categories • Treatment 2 seeks to make page easier by removing the category links and simply featuring the main categories with images. #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT 3 T3 – Navigation Links (text) • Treatment 3 is a radical approach that seeks to make the process easier by removing the “body” category page altogether, enabling the visitor to choose their category within the navigation of the homepage. #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT 4 T4 – Navigation Links (visual) • Treatment 4 is similar to Treatment 3, only it integrates a more visual approach to the categories within the navigation. #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TEST YOUR INTUITION Control – Category List T1 – Configurator T2 – Visual Categories T3 – Navigation Links (text) T4 – Navigation Links (visual) #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: RESULTS 20% Increase in Total Conversions Treatment 1 category page increased conversion rate by 20% Conversion Relative Treatment Version Rate Difference Control – Category List 1.04% - T1 – Configurator 1.25% 20% T2 – Visual Categories 1.10% 6% T3 – Navigation Links (text) 1.10% 5% T4 – Navigation Links (visual) 1.10% 5% #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: RESULTS Why did the configurator beat all the other methods? Was it the usability? If so, what made it more usable than the other methods? Control – Category List T1 – Configurator #webclinic
  • THE USABILITY MYTH Key Principles 1. Focusing on usability can hinder an effective approach to optimization. It often undermines the micro-yes approach and can ultimately hinder results. 2. An overemphasis on “usability” confuses the means with the end. The goal of our website is not “usability”, but rather “buyability”. 3. Usability, when viewed properly, can be a valuable tool for helping marketers identify hidden psychological costs in their conversion processes. #webclinic
  • USING USABILITY Tools Hypothesis TestConversion Methodology Usability Claim: Control Users have to scroll A single-column page Metric Analysis down to the bottom of where the call to action the page to see the call- is located at the bottom Usability (UX) to-action. By raising the of the page CTA above the fold, we Competitive Analysis can improve the rate Treatment 1 conversion A two-column page Focus Groups where the the call to action is located at the Marketing Opinions top right of the page . 16 #webclinic
  • THE USABILITY MYTH Key Principles 1. A focus on usability can hinder an effective approach to optimization. It often undermines the micro-yes approach and can ultimately hinder results. 2. An overemphasis on “usability” confuses the means with the end. The goal of our website is not “usability”, but rather “buyability”. 3. Usability, when viewed properly, can be a valuable tool for helping marketers identify unnecessary psychological cost in their conversion processes. 4. All usability claims must be tested. #webclinic
  • TODAY’S FOCUS Today, we are going to walk through 4 interesting discoveries that we have made when testing some of the most common “rules of usability”. 18 #webclinic
  • DISCOVERY #1:Short is Not Always Sweet 19 #webclinic
  • COMMON RULES OF USABILITY “ “Keep it short…cut the copy and keep the most important points of the message near the top.” “…the material thats the most important for the users goals or your business goals should be above the fold…” ” #webclinic
  • SHORTENING A PAGE CAN BE EFFECTIVE 16.52% 19.95% 23.14% 25.40% Conversion increases as page-length decreases • Often conversion increases as the page is shortened, but this is not always the case… #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: BACKGROUND Experiment ID: (Protected) Location: MarketingExperiments Research Library Test Protocol Number: TP1662 Research Notes: Background: An addiction and mental health rehabilitation facility. Goal: Increase the total number of leads captured. Primary Research Question: Which page will obtain the most form submissions? Approach: A/B multi-factor split test #webclinic
  • ControlEXPERIMENT: CONTROL• Average short-form page template with a rotating banner.• Call to action is above the fold on the right hand side and above “the fold”. What if we created a single-column, long-form structure with the CTA at the bottom? 23 #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT Treatment - Top #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT Treatment – Middle #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: TREATMENT Treatment – Bottom #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: SIDE-BY-SIDE Control Treatment • The treatment is nearly 2x the length of the control and the call-to- action is at the bottom of the page. 27 #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: CONTROL 220% Increase in Total Conversion The treatment page increased the rate of conversion by 220% Design Conversion Rate Control 0.78% Treatment 2.48% Relative Difference 220%  What you need to understand: By utilizing prospect’s thought process and approach, the treatment better guides the a single-column, long-copy generates 220% more leads online. 28 #webclinic
  • DISCOVERY #1: SHORT IS NOT ALWAYS SWEET Key Principles 1. We control the chronology of the mind with the geography of the page. Many times, it is necessary to guide the visitor through a significant amount of information before they are ready to make a decision. 2. Generally, there is a direct relationship between the cost/complexity of an offer and the amount of information that is required to achieve a conversion. 29 #webclinic
  • DISCOVER #2:Navigation is Not Always Necessary 30 #webclinic
  • COMMON RULES OF USABILITY“ Users want to have control... Navigation is arguably the most important part of your website, aside from the content… Give users complete control of your website by allowing them to navigate located information and direct where they are at all times…. ” 31 #webclinic
  • NOT THIS, BUT THIS Not this But this 548% INCREASE IN CONVERSION #webclinic
  • NOT THIS, BUT THIS But this Not this 155% INCREASE IN CONVERSION #webclinic
  • NOT THIS, BUT THIS Not this But this 24% REVENUE PER VISITOR 34 #webclinic
  • NOT THIS, BUT THIS Not this But this 56% IN REV. PER ORDER #webclinic
  • DISCOVERY #2: NAVIGATION IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY Key Principles 1. Navigation necessarily presents a series of competing options and will almost always diffuse attention. 2. Navigation should be utilized as a channel-like tool to help the customer move towards an offer, not away from one. 3. For the average site, this means that navigation should be emphasized on directory pages (home pages; category pages; etc.), and deemphasized on destination pages (product pages; lead forms; etc.). 36 #webclinic
  • DISCOVER #3:Options Are Not Always Helpful 37 #webclinic
  • COMMON RULES OF USABILITY“ Having choices is considered a good thing. We are used to choices and we value dearly if we can be in control. When people have no choice, life is miserable. As you start adding options, you increase wellbeing… ” The more choices, the better… 38 #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: BACKGROUND Experiment ID: (Protected) Location: MarketingExperiments Research Library Test Protocol Number: TP1213Research Notes: Background: Integrated software solutions for businesses and enterprise Goal: The company sought to increase free trial sign-ups for the CRM solutions Primary Research Question: Which landing page will obtain the most conversions? Approach: A/B split test (variable cluster) #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: SIDE-BY-SIDE ControlLOGO Treatment LOGO #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: SIDE-BY-SIDE By changing the display of the offer, we simplified the customer’sLOGO decision from three evenly weighted buttons to a single selection. 1 2 3LOGO 1 #webclinic
  • EXPERIMENT: RESULTS 78% Increase in Conversion The simplified design contributed to a 77.94% conversion gain. Path Design CR Control 1.71% Treatment 3.05% Relative Difference: 77.94% #webclinic
  • DISCOVERY #3: OPTIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS HELPFUL Key Principles 1. When possible, marketing collateral should NOT lead a prospect to set of potential options, but rather to “the one” option. Beware of unsupervised thinking. 43 #webclinic
  • DISCOVER #4:Minimal is Not Always Optimal 44 #webclinic
  • COMMON USABILITY PRINCIPLES “ [Websites should have an] aesthetic and minimalist design…dialogues should not contain information which is irrelevant or rarely needed. A minimalist design draws the users to focus on the main subject at hand without being distracted by irrelevant images or text. ” 45 #webclinic
  • ORIGINAL EXPERIMENT Treatment 1 Treatment 2 Configurator & Full List of Products Organized Categories Only • Treatment 2 takes a more minimalist approach, and yet Treatment 1 outperformed it by 14% 46 #webclinic
  • ORIGINAL EXPERIMENT Treatment 3 Organized Categories within Navigation Links • Treatments 3 took even more of a minimalist approach by completely removing the page altogether and letting the visitor jump straight to the category through the navigation… • Yet this minimalist approach did not improve conversion. 47 #webclinic
  • ORIGINAL EXPERIMENT Treatment 1 Configurator & Full List of Products • In all, Treatment 1 was the most complex version of the page from a design and process standpoint… • …and yet it provided the easiest and most useful experience for the visitor. #webclinic
  • DISCOVERY #4: MINIMAL IS NOT ALWAYS OPTIMAL Key Principles 1. We do not optimize web pages; we optimize thought sequences. Our goal is NOT to minimize complexity on the page, but rather confusion in the mind (i.e., psychological effort). 2. Minimizing the confusion in the mind will at times include adding elements to the page design: • Adding Interactive Tools • Adding (separating) Micro-Steps • Adding Statements of Value • Adding Eye-path Guides • Adding Anxiety Reducers • Adding Qualifying Friction #webclinic
  • SUMMARY: WE MUST TRANSCEND BEST PRACTICES Rule-based Science-based vs. Optimization Optimization Practice • Emphasize hero shots • Keep it above the fold Methodolog • Avoid too much copy y • Emphasize the Benefits • Don’t use reverse text C = 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) - 2a © • Don’t rely too much on Flash • Implement basket recovery emails Meta-theory • Avoid auto-on audio 50 #webclinic
  • SUMMARY: THE USABILITY MYTH DISCOVERY #1: Short is Not Always Sweet We control the chronology of the mind with the geography of the page. There is a direct relationship between the cost/complexity of an offer and the amount of information that is required to achieve a conversion. Discovery #2: Navigation is Not Always Necessary Navigation necessarily presents a series of competing options and will almost always diffuse attention. Navigation should be utilized as a channel-like tool to help the customer move towards an offer, not away from one. Discovery #3: Options Are Not Always Helpful When possible, marketing collateral should NOT lead a prospect to set of potential options, but rather to “the one” option. Beware of unsupervised thinking. Discovery #4: Minimal is Not Always Optimal Our goal is NOT to minimize complexity on the page, but rather complexity in the mind. Minimizing the complexity in the mind will at times include adding elements to the page design. #webclinic
  • LIVE OPTIMIZATION 52 #webclinic
  • Upcoming Web ClinicTune into our next Webclinic to learn:• How one company used email subject lines and body copy to determine the essence of its value proposition.• A 5-step methodology for testing value proposition with email messages. #webclinic
  • Live Optimization Merck Primary objective(s): To capture leads for partnerships Primary traffic source(s): Organic and Direct ad Target audience: Potential research partners Page URL: http://bit.ly/ZpL9Ll #webclinic
  • Live Optimization American Red Cross Primary objective(s): Convert donor traffic Primary traffic source(s): Organic and email Target audience: New and existing donors Page URL: http://rdcrss.org/N5tB2a #webclinic
  • MarketingExperiments Optimization NewsletterFree subscription to more than $20 million in marketing research Join 89,000 of the top marketers from around the world as we work together to discover what really works. MarketingExperiments.com/subscribe #webclinic