Why A/B Testing is Important for Website Design
Design is where science and art break even. – Robin Mathew
What is A/B testing?
In the world of website design, A/B testing is the methodical assessment of design elements to ensure that a website has the appropriate impact on visitors. A/B testing can help you create a website that inspires visitors to complete one or more desired actions, such as: make a purchase, signup for a newsletter, or share content.
To A/B test an element of a website page design, two versions of a page are live online; both pages are identical, except for the one element that is being tested.
Traffic is evenly, and randomly split between the two pages, and data is collected to measure the user interactions with the element being tested. Visitors will not know that they are visiting a site that is being tested, and search engines will not treat your website any differently.
Tip: When splitting traffic, only include new visitors in the test. You do not want to surprise returning visitors with new design elements until the results have proven which style visitors prefer.
What types of website elements can be tested?
Almost anything can be tested. Some of the most important elements are color, placement, and word choice.
For example, a button that leads to the checkout page on your site is critical to closing sales and increasing revenue, making it an ideal design element to test. You can test the color and style of the button, the placement of the button on the page, as well as the call-to-action wording on the button.
Tip: You never want to run more than one A/B test at a time, so if you’re testing an orange button versus a blue button, only test the color on that one button, and maintain consistent placement and wording for that button across both versions of the site. If your timeline and goals force you to test more than one design detail on your website, at least limit your tests to one per page, on as few pages as possible.
Why is A/B testing important?
According to HubSpot , A/B testing on landing pages can increase conversions by 40%. That level of improvement is not typical, but it is definitely possible.
Human psychology is the trickiest piece of the website design puzzle. For some reason, people want to click a green button on some sites, and a red button on other sites. The human element is impossible to anticipate correctly every time so testing is the best route to creating a site that visitors will enjoy using.
Tip: Remember, as Frank Chimero said: People ignore design that ignores people. Don’t design just for aesthetics, design for people!
Whether you are collecting leads, dollars, or participants, test regularly to ensure that all of design elements are helping you meet your goals, and connect you to your online community.
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