Using User Testing Insights to Inform Web Design Decisions
This user testing project gave me the opportunity to test some of my own assumptions about how our website should look and feel. As a non-designer, the process helped me tremendously in producing a new web design brief and has subsequently helped to inform the design decisions being made for our new website.
Westkin Associates is a leading immigration law specialist based in London and in Q3 2021, we started to support them in the planning of a new website.
They’ve hosted the same website for 7 years and wanted to modernise the website’s design and improve the user experience. As part of this process, they also wanted to test their assumptions about the strengths and weaknesses of the current website, in addition to validating their decisions on the features, functionality and feel of the new website.
We planned a user testing project as a starting point for the new website project, which would reveal critical user insights and help to inform the new website designs.
Read on to find out exactly how we helped Westkin Associates justify the design of their new website, or get in touch here if you’d like to speak to us about how we can help you.
As a starting point for user testing, it was important to distinguish between our assumptions related to the current website experience and the questions we needed to ask to validate our thinking related to the new website.
We curated the questions to ask user testers based on:
1) The curiosity of Westkin Associates’ CEO, Amir Zaidi. Amir works across sales and marketing, and was keen to weave his experience and assumptions into user testing.
2) Our team’s deep knowledge of Westkin Associates’ existing clients, target clients and early-stage web design processes.
Examples of the insights we sought during user testing included:
- Is it clear who Westkin Associates’ serves?
- Where do users think Westkin Associates is based?
- Are there too many CTAs on the page?
- How are the trust signals interpreted?
- Does the company appear trustworthy?
- Is the website easy to navigate?
- How easy is the content to read?
- What would improve the content’s readability?
To answer these questions, we deployed 3 types of user tests across the homepage and primary service pages. These were:
- Five-second Test. Users are shown a page, or part of a page, for 5 seconds and then asked questions based on what they’ve just seen. This helps to test a users’ initial impressions and the clarity of the website’s messaging.
- Design Surveys. Users are shown a page and are asked to respond to questions as they view the design. This type of test is useful for collating qualitative feedback.
- First-click Tests. Users are shown a page and then asked to complete a navigational task. For example, in this project, we displayed the homepage and asked users, ‘where would you click to find out more information on Spouse Visa services?’. The first location that users click is recorded in the form of a heatmap, as below.
The demographics of Westkin Associates’ clients can vary quite significantly depending on the type of service being sought. For this reason, we also needed to adapt our user testing pool to try to reflect the clients and target clients of the company.
Two different audiences were sought for this project.
Audience Type 1
- Aged 35+
- Average to above average income
- College educated and above
- Technically competent
- In full-time employment or self-employed
Audience Type 2
- Aged 25-40
- Low income
- No college education
- Low technical competency
- May be working part-time
Results & Insights
Over 350 user test responses were recorded across 3 different test types, encompassing 3 different page types and 2 audience types.
Insights from the project included:
- 36% of users were unclear or couldn’t establish who Westkin Associates’ services are for
- 34% of users were unclear or couldn’t identify the locations that Westkin Associates serves
- 42% of users felt the company looked untrustworthy
- 44% of users felt the website was difficult to navigate
- 60% of users said they found the content on the website was difficult to read
- 66% of users noted feeling the content was too long and overwhelming
- First-click testing revealed split-clicks, indicating the inclusion of too many CTAs on the pages that we tested
The quantitative and qualitative data was then curated to help inform the design briefs for the new website.
The following are examples of the influence that user testing feedback has had on the new website designs. At the time of writing (Q1 2022) the new designs are being finalised before the new website is launched.
User Feedback: Awards, Accreditations & Memberships
Current Website Implementation of Awards, Accreditations & Memberships:
‘The Vice logo makes the whole site look dodgy.’
‘…leading with “Vice” is a strange one. I’m not sure how this company relates to Vice. And they aren’t a professional services company?’
‘I don’t understand why Vice and Noisey are displayed next to awards.’
New Design Mock-up:
User Feedback: Testimonials & Reviews
Current Website Implementation of Testimonials & Reviews:
‘Design wise, it does look dated though in my opinion. The thumbs up Ekomi logo and the stars, for example, don’t strike me as contemporary in design and that makes me wonder if the site is up to date; I appreciate these may be third party graphics, but I would consider it questionable whether they add value to the site, or detract from it.’
‘…testimonials don’t have names against them, it looks fake.’
‘…the amount on this site just looks desperate.’
New Design Mock-up:
User Feedback: Contact Form
Current Website Implementation of the Contact Form:
‘The yellow button “Looking to hire…” is stuck over a form. I think you fill in the form but I don’t actually know. I’d prefer for it to have clearer examples of what I might look for and then I can contact them based on that.’
‘Text boxes on contact form don’t use appropriate labels (further accessibility issues).’
‘The text is too small and different parts are bold. The grey image is really distracting and different buttons are on top of forms.’
New Design Mock-up:
As of January 2022, new designs for Westkin Associates are being finalised, with a new site set to be launched in Q2 2022.
Having user testing data like this at the beginning of a new web design project is like having access to a gold mine for designers. It allows us to get up to speed quickly, helps us to get inside the mind of potential clients and ultimately makes for better, more-informed designs.