Article

John Kuefler
John Kuefler 28 March 2013
Categories

Usability testing might just save your brand

When you already know how something is going to work, it's all but impossible to understand that others don'

Well, it happened again – the same thing that happens every time any digital product is put through usability testing. We found out that the people designing the thing (people who know exactly what it’s supposed to do and how it’s supposed to work) are not the same as the people actually using the thing. And the people who are supposed to use the thing don’t get it. And because they don’t get it, they have three options for how they might respond.

 

Option 1 is that they will tirelessly apply all their time and brainpower to trying to figure out your thing. The problem with this option is that the thing they are trying to figure out is probably trying to sell them something, and no one will work extra-hard just to be sold something. (I make the assumption that it’s trying to sell something because we are a marketing firm, and the things we make are generally supposed to sell stuff.) If the thing is entertaining or fun, you might have a chance for Option 1, but otherwise you can cross it off the list.

Option 2 is they will quickly give up and walk away. Of all the options, this is the one you should hope for, because Option 3 is not what you want.

Option 3 is that your thing will make them feel frustrated or stupid, and they may even get mad. Then their anger may be taken out on your brand, because people need to vent and blame someone for their bad user experience. This is just human nature. They might even be so frustrated that they post something negative on one or more of their social media networks. Then all of their friends, and even their friends’ friends, will know that your thing doesn’t work right. One Tweet turns into 3 million views (hey, it has happened). Ouch. We all know that social media is word-of-mouth on steroids, and bad comments or reviews have the power to make or break brands. This is why you don’t want Option 3 to happen.

The simple remedy


The good news is that Option 3 can easily be prevented. There is a simple fix for all of this, and I mentioned it at the beginning of this post. You simply test the thing before it’s produced, before it goes “out there” all broken for people to use as ammunition in online rants against your brand. This course of action sounds incredibly simple and obvious, which in fact it is, but it’s hardly ever actually undertaken by smaller brands, agencies or development firms that don’t have the deep pockets of Fortune 500s. Mega-brands like Amazon that make usability testing a continuous part of their routine (and their success stories) are the exception, rather than the rule. It seems that for Any Specialty Brand, Inc., usability testing either is not on the radar, is thought of as an unaffordable luxury, or, worst of all, is considered a waste of time and money. This couldn’t be further from the truth, because an ounce of usability testing is worth a pound of cure.

At Callahan Creek, I’m happy to say that usability testing that’s conducted with in-house UXD expertise is now SOP for all digital deliverables. As a UXD expert once told me after conducting hundreds and hundreds of usability tests, the process never once failed to uncover things that needed to be fixed or could be improved upon. That’s certainly been my experience as well. And more often than not the problems that we uncovered with usability testing were completely unanticipated – often with potentially serious consequences if left unaddressed. That’s because the people making the thing can’t get out of their own heads and think like the people who will be using the thing. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix: usability testing.

Feel free to post your reply here.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Promote Your Blog On These 30 Places

Promote Your Blog On These 30 Places

Social Media channels are one of the best ways to promote your blog content, but you shouldn’t stop there. Besides Social Media, there are more available places on the web which can be a great marketing tool for your blog promotion. I’m bringing you 30 proven places where you can promote your blog content and get great results.

Aleksej Durdevic
Aleksej Durdevic 7 December 2016
Read more
Top 10 Digital Branding & Marketing Trends for 2017

Top 10 Digital Branding & Marketing Trends for 2017

It’s time to re-evaluate and rebalance the digital approach for your company. Here are the Top Digital Branding & Marketing Trends for 2017 to watch for. The probing minds at the Borenstein Group, a Top Washington DC Digital Marketing and Branding Agency, have done the homework for you. Use it or lose it.

Gal Borenstein
Gal Borenstein 7 December 2016
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
What Mobile App Design Looks like in 2017

What Mobile App Design Looks like in 2017

They say ‘move with the time or the time will leave you behind’. Being a startup it is important for you that you understand the trends, and amalgamate them in your business in order to attain the targets.

Nasrullah Patel
Nasrullah Patel 6 December 2016
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more