Identifying enhancement opportunities through user testing.


Identifying enhancement opportunities through user testing.

Minor enhancements can have a major impact.

The adoption of digital has been on a steady trajectory in recent times but the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the necessity for digital transformation. Digital channels have become essential to practically every customer-engagement model, creating an urgency for businesses to direct their focus to their online presence. But at the same time, this unprecedented economic crisis has crippled budgets preventing businesses from extensively investing in long term digital transformations plans.

According to a recent report from McKinsey and Company, “The ways they (businesses) learn from and adjust to today’s crisis will deeply influence their performance in tomorrow’s changed world, providing the opportunity to retain greater agility as well as closer ties with customers, employees, and suppliers.”

So how do you stay ahead of the digital curve while still staying within the means of your budget? The good news is that your digital product may not require as much work as you think (aka less budget, yes please!). Minor design enhancements can make drastic improvements to your digital product’s performance and the best way to identify those opportunities is by testing your digital product with your users. After all, your platform exists for your users so let them determine what they need.

User testing  plays a fundamental role in digital transformation, so in this article, I’m going to cover:

  • What is user testing?
  • What are the benefits of user testing?
  • The need for remote user testing.

What is user testing?

User testing is the process of evaluating a product by assessing the experience with representative users. User testing is an extremely efficient way to uncover problems with a product or service, discover opportunities for improvement, and better understand your target audiences’ needs and behaviours.

There are various user testing methods including, but not limited to, card sorting, first click test, preference test, tree test and usability testing. The recommended approach will vary depending on the goals of your business, whether you want to find out why KPIs are not being met if you want to improve the navigation of your site or understand how users feel about your product (find out more here). 

Traditionally, clients have opted for user testing methods, such as usability testing, which are commonly conducted in a lab environment, where the participant is in a room with a moderator guiding them as they interact with a product. Cameras record users’ actions and behaviours while observers watch and take notes in an adjacent room. With social distancing to consider, this approach isn’t very practical, so we are now transitioning to a more efficient and cost-effective approach, remote user testing. Which we will get into later but first, let’s talk about testing benefits (we need to know the ROI!).

What are the benefits of user testing?

Saves Time and Money

User testing saves you the time and money it would cost to go back and fix problems at a later date.

Identifies and Reduces Risk

Identifying risks early on reduces the risk of releasing a product that users don’t want or can’t use efficiently.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

When the user experience is efficient people are more likely to use your product and recommend it to others.

User testing helps you understand how people use your product and for what purpose. Do users find value or utility in your product? Or do they get frustrated when attempting to use it and drop off without completing a transaction? 

User testing is ideally conducted at the initial phases of product development but regardless it’s never too late to do user testing. When you have an existing product on the market, it’s even easier to identify opportunities for improvements with the help of data.

Let’s look at an example:

  • Say you have an eCommerce app and a data analysis reveals that over the past five months there’s been an increase in visits to the app, but customer transactions are not increasing.
  • Users are dropping off during the checkout journey but you’re not sure why.

Conducting a test with users would reveal patterns in their behaviour along with the pain points they face throughout the checkout journey. Using these insights, we can recommend how to improve the journey, decreasing the likelihood of drop-offs and ultimately increasing conversions for your site.

A study from the Baynard Institute found that conversion rates for eCommerce could be improved by 35% through better checkout flow and design. In the examples given by the study, small UX design fixes could have saved these companies billions of dollars. For example, 27% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order in the past quarter solely due to a “too long/complicated checkout process”. According to a report from eMarketer, by 2020, eCommerce sales will grow to a global total of about $4.058 trillion so that’s a potential loss of $260 billion due to a poor checkout experience!

So, as you can see, data can give us the “what” about users’ behaviour but listening and speaking to your actual customers is so important because you can uncover the “why”. In doing so you can discover invaluable information about your customers.

The growing need for remote user testing.

Another evolution spearheaded by COVID-19 is the need for remote ways of working. Social distancing has pushed digital to be essential in our interactions with one another. With this in mind, we’ve refined our approach to user testing, transitioning from offline in our Usability Complex, to online user testing from a remote location. This approach has been tried and tested and the results are impressive.

Moderators now conduct user tests through online platforms, connecting with test participants from their homes. This approach has made the user testing process more efficient and reduced overhead costs. 

Here are a few perks:

  • You don’t need to pay for a testing lab or travel costs for participants and things like incentives can be priced lower.
  • Remote tests are more accommodating to participants (and moderators’) busy schedules.
  • You can reach test participants from around the world all from the comfort of your home (pants optional). 


The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed digital to become the central focus of almost every touchpoint of our lives, making digital transformation essential to reaching your businesses goals. For effective digital transformation, it is important to have a holistic approach to your Digital Strategy, UX, UI, Content, Data and Tech.

But first, testing your product with your users allows you to empathise with their needs and pain points to make more informed design decisions that will influence all aspects of your business. User testing has proven to be one of the most effective design tools to drastically enhance the user experience of your product and ultimately improve business performance.

And now with social distancing to consider the approach to user testing is changing, evolving to predominately remote testing. Not only does this make it more affordable and efficient, but it is also much more accessible to potential test participants from around the world. So, get ahead of the curve, save on costs for your digital transformation and let us help you reach your business goals. 

Jessie Barlow
Experience Consultant