Why Your Design Needs A/B Testing


3 m read


Testing & QA, Testing Methodolo­gies

Every website owner has heard of it much and comes across many lengthy articles on how to do it. But do they realize why A/B testing is so important personally for them? Probably, not.

This article provides answers to all the questions about A/B testing you might ask.

What is A/B testing?

A/B testing is viewed as a randomized testing marketing, web development and advertising companies do in order to improve their marketing materials, websites and ads, respectively. The process includes creating two web site or ad’s versions and presenting half of the audience with version A and half with version B. After monitoring the impact of each version, the version with better performance is used from that time on.

A/B testing measures the efficacy of virtually everything and is especially helpful with testing design elements.

Why should I care?

A/B testing shows the site owner what works on his site and what doesn’t. The online marketplace often feels like a jungle where every company is forced to compete with homespun enterprises, local superstars and international giants. That’s why every possible advantage counts, and A/B testing can help you gain it.

Strategic, focused A/B testing can improve your web design’s usability, your web copy’s persuasiveness or even your company and products’ public perception. It can increase click-through rates and conversion leading to profit increase. It also can help you find out if conventional best practices and received wisdom are right for your audience and your website indeed.

As for design, A/B testing will show how well your target market has received some sweeping changes in your main design elements. It can help in shaping the layout or even improving the copy as well. Tiny color, positioning or shading changes can also be helped with for almost no money spent on testing and implementation, but with further big impact on the bottom line.

In short, A/B testing shows if your design theory has proved right or wrong indeed.

How can I do it?

In most cases, the quality of experiment defines the quality of results completely. Creating accurate and helpful A/B tests is rather simple provided you take effort and time to do it properly.

  1. First, define where your site design is incomplete. Look at the site analytics. Are users clicking the appropriate buttons? Are they taking the steps you expect them to? Where do they linger, and what is left ignored? Then have user feedback. Use tailored and short surveys to receive actual user opinions on such matters as usability, design impressions and layout. Then use them together to define your site design’s weak spots.
  2. Second, decide what you can improve, based on user feedback you’ve analyzed. This will shape your site’s B version, while your original design will be version A, or control version of your site.
  3. Third, design the experiment and run testing. Change only several things at one time, so that you can understand which elements work easily and which don’t. Keep the test re-running until you have got your major elements right.
  4. Base the permanent changes in your design on the evidence. Even if your assumptions, training and instincts are ignored, if you want your site to attract and retain visitors, you should accept your sublime taste doesn’t work sometimes.
  5. Finally, create a list of your current site design elements, from headlines to colors, and test each of them to see if they can be improved. The big wins can get your success started, while the little amendments are sure to help you take the business to the upper level.

So what was it all about?

A/B testing may seem like waste of time at first glance from a designer’s perspective, but it gives a great way to receive solid data about your mostly subjective design elements from button colors and forms’ location to the most required page sections and improve them without any conventional design preconceptions.

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