The importance of A/B split testing in website design

Anyone who took high school science lab already knows the basis of split testing. Simply execute two controlled experiments with different variables, each towards achieving a desired goal, and see which one works best.

split-testing

The same concept is being used in website design, although on a much more complex scale. Marketers and designers create two different web pages for a specific company or service—each with unique randomized variants such as banners, layouts and calls to action—and measure user interest and interaction with a set of detailed metrics.

The useful element of A/B split testing is you can measure whatever relates to your end goal. For example, if a site is seeing difficulties in getting users to sign up, a split test experiment can determine what’s hampering the process, such as security concerns, intimidating form length or perhaps inappropriate wording, images or product placement.

There are some practical things to keep in mind however when embarking on a split testing campaign.

  • Be sure to test both versions simultaneously to achieve accurate results
  • Resist the urge to stop the test too early; the more results you can gather, the better metric analysis you’ll have to work with.
  • Stick to the statistics the test generates, rather than going with your feelings; you may personally dislike a particular color palette or font type, but if visitors react more positively to it the test was a success
  • Pay special attention to the details of the designs. Accidentally putting different prices or promotional offers will seriously skew metric results.
  • Don’t be afraid to do several A/B tests: the first may not yield any results, but subsequent tests may be wildly successful.
  • Keep your end goal in mind always. It’s easy to lose sight of what you want to accomplish—conversion or click through rates, sign ups or anything else that generates revenue—if you’re focusing on smaller details, such as average length of visit or other elements of user interaction.

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Byte Technology is a premium Minneapolis Web Design company providing responsive web design services for medium to large businesses in Minnesota, as well as nationally. To speak with a web representative about this article or schedule an open office hour session, please call (612) 204-4921.

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