User experience research, also known as UX, has recently become an invaluable tool for marketing research. Unlike other research methods in which customers describe their previous experiences (e.g., taste tests and concept testing), UX allows researchers to observe customers in real time as they engage with the product. UX eliminates some of the bias and recall issues that may arise with alternate methods.
UX is particularly useful when evaluating the performance of your website or app. You will have automatic feedback regarding user experience and may even discover points of improvement that you hadn’t thought of before.
Unlike a survey, in which you must know what you wish to evaluate before designing it, UX allows you to explore concepts you may not have thought of before. For instance, you may discover that your users leave your site before scrolling through it or that a certain part of your site receives disproportionately more attention than others. You would have no way of knowing this with just a survey.
As a marketer, there are multiple UX techniques you can use to evaluate your site or app today. Let’s look at a few of them:
Five Second Tests
This type of UX helps measure the clarity of the copywriting of your website or app. After designing the site that you wish to measure, you can add an extension like UsabilityHub and define your UX test questions. After users have spent 5-seconds on your site, you can ask if they recall who the company is, what the company does, the benefits they provide and more.
Five Second Tests provide both quantitative and qualitative data that allows you to optimize your content to facilitate user comprehension. If there is a discrepancy between user responses and marketing goals, you can work to optimize the copywriting and content of your site. As marketers we must fight for the attention of our consumers and Five Second Tests help us evaluate if we are meeting said goal.
Session replays are recordings of a user’s full exchange with your app or website. You will be able to observe and analyze their journey, measure how many windows they visited and the order the followed. You will also be able to measure how much they scrolled, what they clicked on and how much time they spent on each section.
Said recordings can provide useful insights regarding the way your customer thinks. In addition, you will be able to derive behavioral patterns that you could strive to modify if necessary. A benefit is that customers are likely to showcase the authentic behavior as they often don’t know they are being recorded.
Similar to session replays, heat maps showcase customer behavior on your site. They reveal the sections on your site that users looked at, clicked, scrolled or hovered over. Heat maps usually indicate high frequency with colors and users tend to display authentic behavior as they do not know they are being measured. You can learn from the most and least popular sections to optimize your site.
One of the goals of UX is to understand what your customer is thinking. There is perhaps no better way to do this than by directly measuring brain activity or other physiological responses as users interact with your site.
Eye tracking, for instance, can measure the path of the eye and how long users looked at something on your site. Electroencephalography (EEG), on the other hand, measures electrical activity in the brain and can be used to assess emotional activation with certain stimuli. Another popular test is the galvanic skin response (GSR) which assesses electrical conductivity of the skin that is common with certain emotional responses. These are just some examples of biometric tests you could implement on your site.
Biometric tests tend to be expensive, time consuming and may not be applicable to your broader population due to sample size constraints. However, technological advances may make these types of tests more widely accessible and may provide true, in-depth understanding or the rationale of our customers.
Consider implementing one or multiple of the aforementioned UX techniques on your website and you may gain eye-opening insights. It is common to grow compliant with our current strategy and we must instead continually measure and optimize our efforts to reach (or perhaps even surpass) our marketing objectives.