Improve your site with video user testing

Steve Comrie
Video user testing

Chances are that if your business sells some type of physical product, you’ve undertaken some degree of testing on that product. Perhaps your business tests each product prior to launch, or maybe there’s an ongoing testing cycle. But what about your website?

Even if you’re in the business of selling services but not products, you’ll pay attention to the customer feedback you receive since customer feedback is basically after-the-fact testing of your services.

The goal of these tests is to make sure that you present the best possible product or service to your customers. You can use also use the concept of testing to make sure that you’re presenting the best possible website to your customers and potential customers. One testing technique that’s becoming increasingly popular is video testing.

What is video user testing?

Video user testing is different from the traditional A/B” testing process for websites. With an A/B test, you publish two different versions of your website, and randomly display one or the other to each visitor. You determine which version performs better based on how the users interact with the site.

With video testing, you have greater insight into what a user does when they’re visiting your website. This can take the form of a video of the user’s screen as they navigate your site, the users themselves, or both. This lets you see where they’re moving their mouses, what they’re looking at on the screen, and their reactions when they reach certain parts of your website.

Some tests also include a script of questions that the users are asked as they interact with your site, so they can provide immediate and direct feedback on how they feel about particular areas of the website.

Benefits of video user testing

Video testing lets you see beyond the mere numbers that you’d receive from a standard A/B test. Certain visitor behaviors, such as scanning up and down and around a page with their mouse pointer while they’re looking for a menu link or some other navigational prompt, could indicate that your page structure needs to be improved. You won’t be able to draw the same depth of conclusions from an A/B test.

Furthermore, you can run a video test on a competitor’s website to see how users interact with the site, how quickly they can find the information they’re looking for, and what causes them to leave the site without purchasing or otherwise converting into a customer.

Video testing allows you to learn more about what visitors are actually thinking as they surf your website.

Which testing service to use

Usertest​ing​.com used to have a virtual monopoly on the video user testing market, but that was many moons ago.

Since then, Usertest​ing​.com has moved away from individual pay-as-you go tests to a subscription based payment method. Many of their competitors, such as TryMyUi and look​back​.io have followed suit with the monthly subscriptions.

If you’d like to try out video user testing before making the commitment to a full subscription service, you can still get reasonably priced pay-as-you-go video user tests from PlaybookUX or Userlytics.

Using the test results

Once you get the feedback from your initial test, you can work to implement possible solutions or improvements to any issues or problems you noticed. You can then consider further follow up testing to verify that your solutions and improvements are producing appropriate results, or to address any new developments with respect to your website.

For more information, take a look at the following video to see exactly how this type of testing works.

Alternatives to Video User Testing

Video user tests are great for getting in-depth feedback from a few users who you’re asking to complete specific tasks. But what about watching how regular users are coping with your website.

In recent years there’s been an explosion of tools that allow you to play and and watch individual user sessions that took place on your website. These are recordings of the keyboard and mouse inputs of real people that visited your website.

Vendors that offer this service include:

The playback allows you to playback, in real-time (or sped-up) the way that user move around your site, up and down pages. You’ll get to see what they click on, where they pause and get a general idea for whether or not your site is acting the way you expected it to.

These are great options to test in addition to video user testing as they’ll give you similar but different information.