Are you looking to improve your website’s user experience to increase conversions and gain a competitive edge? The key is to benchmark user experience against your competitors and implement a consistent user testing process. In this article, we’ll dive deep into various benchmarking techniques that will not only help you design a better interface for your website but also show you how regular user testing with UserBrain’s free trial can propel your business towards success.
The Key Components Of Good UX
Before we begin the user experience benchmarking process, it’s important that we understand which criteria we need to benchmark user experience against. User experience on a website or app is measured by four key components:
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Visual Design and
A comprehensive peer benchmarking process should evaluate the performance of your site against competition in each of these specific component areas.
Mastering Information Architecture (IA)
The way content is presented on a website depends on the demographic that the business caters to. For example, customers buying industrial equipment online would be interested in the technical specifications of the product on your shelf. In such cases, the content is best presented in a tabulated form. On the other hand, customers buying fashion accessories would be interested in images showcasing the product.
An ideal IA benchmarking process starts with identifying the list of competitors in your space. It is a good idea to pick at least the five to ten market leaders in your space and benchmark on various information architecture parameters like:
- Content Findability and Discoverability: Compare if your content can be found by users using card sorting or tree testing.
- Content depth: Compare average number of words, pictures or videos being showcased.
- Content complexity: Benchmark Readability scores like Flesch-Kincaid levels, Gunning-Fog scores, Coleman-Liau index and SMOG index.
Optimizing Interaction Design
The effectiveness of your content depends on the way it is presented. This includes seemingly minor factors like the font, font size, visual overlays, interface design (button fade-ins, blinking text, etc.), and so on. Interaction design also includes more important factors like webpage responsiveness and the use of AJAX to make content delivery more seamless.
To benchmark interaction design, you could use the following methods:
- Usability studies: See if people outside your organization can easily interact with your webpage.
- Heuristic evaluation: Conduct an expert review of your website’s interaction design based on established usability principles (heuristics) to identify potential issues and areas for improvement.
Elevating Visual Design
The visual components on your site are a critical aspect of user experience. The visual design not only refers to the mere use of images and videos on your page but also the impact that such visual content delivers. In one study, showing real pictures of artists was found to double the conversion rate of an art store. At the same time, another study on a travel company found that conversion rates dropped when a human face was displayed.
Your benchmarking process should document factors such as the use of images, display of human faces, the kind of image being shown (happy family, a working professional, etc.), whether the person is smiling or not, whether or not the image is a stock photo, and finally the uniqueness of the image.
You could make use of one of the dozens of tools to reverse search the image on your competitor pages for this purpose. If you are an online store with hundreds of products, you could perform this benchmarking process for the top 20% of pages in terms of revenue.
Usability encompasses a number of objective and subjective elements regarding how your customers interact with your website or app. In terms of objective evaluation, you must look into parameters such as the number of pages to navigate through before checking out, the color contrast ratio, and the type of web elements (dropdowns, checkboxes, etc.) present on your page.
For high usability, a page must have minimum friction through the checkout process, a high color contrast ratio, and an optimal combination of web elements that cater to users’ needs and preferences.
To benchmark and improve usability, consider the following methods:
- Usability testing: Conduct usability tests with real users to uncover issues and gather insights on how to improve the user experience on your website or app.
- Accessibility evaluation: Assess your website’s accessibility to ensure that it caters to users with disabilities, following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- User surveys and feedback: Collect user feedback through surveys and feedback forms to understand users’ pain points, preferences, and areas where your website can improve.
- Web analytics analysis: Utilize web analytics tools like Google Analytics to track user behavior and identify patterns or bottlenecks that may be affecting usability, such as high bounce rates or low conversion rates.
By regularly benchmarking your website’s usability against your competitors and industry best practices, you can ensure a seamless user experience that drives higher conversions and customer satisfaction.
Since usability testing must be conducted on a regular basis to ensure your user experience is consistently excellent, you’ll need to have a plan. If you don’t know what your requirements are, take a read through our comprehensive guide on choosing the right user testing plan.
Performing A UX Benchmarking Study
Now that we have gathered valuable information relating to your site and those of competitors, it is time to perform a benchmarking test. It is good practice to execute the benchmarking process in the order listed above.
A usability benchmarking study of this nature is essentially a two step process. The first step is an in-house benchmarking process that evaluates the performance of your site against competition in each of the different parameters mentioned above. For instance, the content complexity benchmarking process would involve comparing the Flesch-Kincaid scores on your webpages and comparing them with peers. Do you see a significant difference in these numbers? This presents an opportunity for improvement.
The second step of the benchmarking process involves the use of third part input. While human feedback is usually only sought for usability purposes (like assessing the points of friction during the checkout process), this is not the only thing you must be assessing. It is important to assess each parameter listed above from a potential consumers’ perspective. Take content complexity for instance.
A website that caters to an expert audience group (like medical professionals or investment bankers) would need content that appeals to this audience. A low Flesch-Kincaid grade level in this case may not actually be desirable. Similarly, make use of tools like UserBrain to gauge inputs from your target group on each of the parameters listed above to assess your website’s performance against competition.
Identify UX Issues and Make Changes
Once you have the benchmarking report ready, the next step is to identify UX and make the necessary changes on your site. This is a lengthy process that involves identifying the elements that could help your business improve conversions and making these incremental changes. The idea is to measure the impact of these changes on conversion and either confirm these changes or revert to what worked better.
User testing and conversion rate optimization is a continuous process and the benchmarking test above will help you prepare a roadmap to continually improve your website vis-a-vis competition.
Start Benchmarking your UX with Userbrain
Now that you’re familiar with UX benchmarking techniques, it’s time to put them into practice and see the results for yourself. Userbrain offers a free trial that can help you gather valuable human feedback on your website’s user experience, enabling you to make data-driven decisions for optimization.
With Userbrain’s free trial, you can:
- Collect insights from real users to understand their experience on your website or app.
- Identify friction points and areas for improvement, helping you prioritize changes that will have the most significant impact on conversions.
- Track the effectiveness of your optimization efforts over time, ensuring that your website continues to outperform the competition.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to improve your website’s performance and increase conversions. Sign up for Userbrain’s free trial today and take the first step towards a better user experience and a more successful online presence.
And if you need a helping hand with benchmarking, just give us a call! One of our in-house user testing experts will gladly help you – free of charge.
Final Thoughts on Benchmarking User Experience
User experience is crucial in today’s competitive digital landscape. By conducting a comprehensive UX benchmarking study and leveraging the power of Userbrain’s free trial, you can continually optimize your website, enhance user satisfaction, and ultimately, boost conversions. Sign up for Userbrain’s free trial now and start your journey towards a more effective and user-friendly website.