As mentioned, last week I spent time at the Conversion Conference here in San Francisco. It was a great experience filled with tons of great tips on how to maximize website conversion rates. I could go on and on about it, but to save you some time, I’ve listed a few highlights below(my top three). For me, the real benefits came from discovering all the great testing tools out there to help boost conversion and improve user experience. I’ve added a list of user testing tools for you at the bottom of this post. Simply put, if someone can’t use your website, they’re not going to buy what your selling. So without further ado, here are …
Highlights of the Conversion Conference in San Francisco:
On day one, Sandra Niehaus and Sara Sturtevant from Closed Loop Marketing conducted a session entitled, “Designing from Inside the User’s Head,” featuring some great tips on how to do just that. They trimmed it down to three methods:
1. Get Real – The idea is to ask the people who are your prospects/customers. Who better to get information from on what works/doesn’t work, right?
2. Big Picture – This method is about understanding how what you are doing will affect the whole. If you’re testing a landing page, that’s great, but don’t forget to think about how it relates to your entire site. Narrowing in on your testing is great, but never forget how the parts relate to the whole.
3. Triangulate and Iterate – Use many methods to test, and then make changes and test again. Use several to double and triple check your results. This help make your tests and changes that much more valuable.
The two ladies from Closed Loop Marketing laid out a great three part plan to testing and optimizing your sites. Great advice.
Dan Siroker from Optimizely.com -if you haven’t checked out this A/B testing solution, do it. You can also see the reference from my last M-Line blog post. Dan’s testing tool is so easy and cool, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about it until the conference. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
Steve Krug, the usability testing guru (www.sensible.com), started off the second day of the conference sharing his insights on the benefits of usability testing. I’ve read both of Steve’s books, “Don’t Make Me Think” and “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” and if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to do usability testing, read these books and do what he says.
Steve explained the importance of asking real users to test your site. All of the tools listed below are fantastic, but usability tests where you are watching people use your site and talking to them in person opens up a whole new world of understanding how people use your site. It’s a must! I always thought that usability testing was difficult, expensive and took a long time … not true! You can do usability testing with as little as three test subjects and conduct your tests and see actionable results in one morning! Read both of Steve Krug’s books, you’ll see what I mean.
Helpful User Testing Tools:
Attentionwizard.com - this is a heat map tool that provides you with a simulated view of what users will see within the first five seconds of using your site. Tell Attentionwizard.com what page you want to test, and it will run an algorithm and show you a heat map of what users see within the first five seconds of their visit.
Clicktale.com - heat maps, mouse tracking and conversion tools with recorded user sessions.
Crazyegg.com - in-page website analytics featuring heat maps, click confetti, link click overlays and scroll maps. Find out where users are clicking and looking. It’s a great set of tools for website optimization to maximize conversion.
Crossbrowsertesting.com – test your designs in over 100 different desktop and mobile browsers.
Fivesecondtest.com – upload your wireframes, sketches or a fully designed page and find out what users see/remember/understand in the first five seconds of seeing it. We live in the era of short attention spans, this is a great tool to find out what people are getting out of your designs.
Loop 11 - user testing tool. If you have a live site, you input your URL and the task(s) that you want people to test out, and then invite people via email to test. They run through your tasks and you get real time results. It’s a little pricey, but worth it if you have the budget.
Mockflow, Balsamiq, Mockingbird - wireframing tools that have preset design elements that you can drag and drop making it much faster to put together wireframes for websites and apps. You can even share with your team/clients.
Optimizely.com – awesome A/B testing tool. Get real time results and tweak copy/images on the fly. Very cool.
Usertesting.com - usability testing for only $39 a pop. Real people performing the tasks you ask them to do on your website, and you get video/audio test results in about an hour. It’s hard to beat that!
If you have more great testing tools to add to the list, please let me know. We’ve got plenty of work to do ourselves, so I look forward to testing my brains out! Cheers.