The web design world has been shifting. Like a cargo ship in a narrow pier, designers have been slowly evolving their focus from subjective, mass-targeted web sites to data-driven, direct, and personalized web experiences. For many, this shift is difficult, but those who are open to the concept of data-driven solutions will see results beyond their wildest dreams.
Today’s technology has provided us with the tools to determine, with pinpoint accuracy, who our users are and what they do online. UX designers are empowered now, more than ever, to make data-driven decisions about the most minute details, helping us eliminate the subjective guessing game and allowing us to design useful, usable and compelling web solutions.
Data-driven decision making can be achieved by establishing a culture of Testing & Optimization in your digital executions. By understanding that your website or app is never truly “finished” (a state we like to call “Constant Beta”) then you open yourself up to new ideas and new solutions that can improve the way you do business.
At Karsh Hagan, we have a Testing & Optimization process that helps our clients make the shift toward data-driven decision making.
WHAT IS IT?
Testing & Optimization is an ongoing, data-driven process of continually discovering and quantifying the most effective experience digitally for your users.
The process includes:
- Understanding your users by developing personas
- Plotting your user decision-making process through journey mapping
- Establishing key performance indicators
- Creating a testing plan and running your tests
- Analyzing, reporting, prioritizing
- Rinse and repeat
User behavior is constantly evolving with emerging technology. Our Testing & Optimization process allows us to stay ahead of the curve, making experiential changes on the fly as they emerge in real-time.
HOW CAN YOU ESTABLISH A TESTING & OPTIMIZATION PROCESS?
Anyone can adopt the ideology of data-driven decision making in web design. Here’s a process we follow at Karsh Hagan that can help you make the shift:
Understand your users by developing personas
Before we can make data-driven decisions we need to understand what makes our users tick. By creating detailed personas based on target segment research we can begin to personify our segments into relatable users.
Understand their decision-making process through journey mapping
Once we fully understand who our users are, we then develop a User Journey Map. A journey map visualizes a user’s decision-making process over time. This exercise helps us identify pain points which our testing plan will focus on.
Establish KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
Now that we are familiar with our user and our user’s decision path, we craft KPIs or goals keeping in mind our testing plan should attempt to uncover insights to improve upon the KPIs.
Create a Testing Plan and run your tests
Your testing plan should consist of both usability testing and an analytics review, and it should outline how you will test your KPIs. Usability testing will help you gather qualitative data on both behavioral insights (task success, task time, page views till goal,clicks, taps) and attitudinal insights (usability, credibility, loyalty, appearance.) Heat mapping is another method we employ when testing so that we can see scroll density, cursor tracking and click mapping of large groups of users. The two data sets, when analyzed, should support any insights you make.
New to testing? Try using Hotjar.com for heat mapping and Userlytics.com for all your usability testing needs.
Analyze, report, prioritize
A testing period should run its course for a few months. At Karsh Hagan, we recommend to run your tests for about 2 months or until you have enough data to pull from. All data should be aggregated in a DMP (Data Management Platform) for comparative analysis with other channels. Remember your personas and journey map? Get into the mind of your users as you comb through the testing results; think about how a change could help a user here or how a new tool could eliminate another user’s pain point there, etc. Remember you aren’t designing for yourself, and your testing insights should reflect that. Typically after analyzing your results, you will have a long laundry list of improvements. Prioritize these by the level of effort, need, cost, etc., and then create a plan to execute your enhancements.
Next, we create a plan for getting the work done. Making too many changes at once can be harmful to your UX. Take on the changes that you and your team agree are a high priority and start from there. Typically, its best to make changes along with one specific user flow. If the improvements worked there, then roll those design patterns out to other parts of your website or app.
Rinse & Repeat
At this point, you have conducted your tests, identified areas of opportunity, and implemented data-driven solutions. But the work doesn’t end there. Now we test the new enhancements against the old testing results and begin to identify new areas for testing. The process never ends, and should never end.
By adopting a culture of testing and optimization you can not only ensure the best possible user experience for your customers but you are also saving your organization time and money by making small improvements over time and avoiding a massive, budget sucking re-design. Data-driven decision-making is what separates the good from the bad, and its importance is growing as is the complicated world of omnichannel marketing. If your organization needs help joining the data-driven decision-making movement, Karsh Hagan is here to help! Just give us a call.