The power of UX Research, and how to test your brand’s ‘first impression’
First impressions are everything. Whether you're developing a website, brand, or digital product, consider taking the time to test user perceptions, both before and after launch.
Let’s check the latest screen time stats for 2023: Americans are interacting with screens for 7 hours each day. Our work and home lives have gone digital, and our experience as users is ever-accumulating.
Users, both B2C and B2B, have come to expect that their experiences will continually evolve. Companies now find themselves in a never-ending race to improve and enhance their brand’s digital experiences in order to attract, win, and keep their customers (75% of the top iOS apps are updated a minimum of once per month).
The implication: if you are setting-and-forgetting your product, website, or campaign — even for a brief moment – you are getting left behind.
The good news? It’s often relatively quick and cost effective to experiment with new ideas in digital. Build-measure-learn is the mantra that captures the driving philosophy in both product design and marketing.
The 5-Second Usability Test
- Usability.com's 5 second testing
- Nielsen Norman's guide to 5 second usability testing
- Nielsen Norman's guide to visual design tests
- First Impressions, the case for Landing pages
- First impressions, Nielsen Norman's take
We can and must constantly experiment with our products and brands to remain relevant. But how do we know what to try, and, perhaps even more importantly, how do we know if it’s working? This is where we turn to UX Research.
User Experience (UX) Research is rooted in a simple idea: find out what people need, want, and like then use these insights to improve their experiences. An ongoing cadence of UX research allows teams to continually surface new learnings about user perceptions and behaviors. It’s the small, seemingly trivial details that often have an outsized impact – think “Butterfly Effect” in the realm of digital.
One of the most renowned UX-research-informed improvements of all time was the introduction of the “Continue as Guest” option. Researchers found that e-commerce users were loading up their carts and abandoning them when they were required to create an account at checkout. (Creating an account before checkout was the universal e-commerce practice at the time.) Instead of assuming that the high cart abandonment rate was the norm, the researchers dug in further by observing user behavior in these moments, as well as testing new approaches.
What they found is that introducing the option to continue without creating an account or logging in dramatically increased checkout rates. Testing a simple new approach earned the company that uncovered this insight an estimated $300 million increase in sales per year and changed ecommerce forever. Today, guest checkout is a standard best-practice for conversion experiences, and most shoppers end up creating an account after a purchase.
Winning today means continuously experimenting and learning in everything from product development, to brand positioning, to customer success. The best teams weave UX research tactics into the fundamentals of how they work, constantly building empathy with their users and customers.
While UX research is built on scientific and methodological rigor – which many assume to be complicated, expensive, and time consuming – there are lightweight techniques that are simple, fast, and insightful. In fact, many of these techniques can produce actionable insights in less than an hour.
At Gitwit, we design and conduct holistic UX research for brands, products, and their marketing. In addition to more robust methodologies, there are some easy-yet-wildly-powerful tactics that we employ as part of our processes. These are methods that you and your team can use to conduct your own UX research…today.
When people come to a website, they decide whether to stay or go (“bounce”) in a matter of seconds. What happens in these first seconds can be the difference between gaining a new customer or losing them forever. So once you’ve gotten a visitor to your website, how do you make sure they stay? In the videos on this page, I discuss the importance of a brand’s first impression and take you through two lightweight tactics for testing your hero messaging and website first impression with end users.
The AttrakDiff Method