Today, I’m teaching a class on web site design at Provo Labs Academy. In preparing for the class I am reminded how often emotions run high when people discuss or debate how a web site should be designed. There are lots of strong opinions out there, and many of them are not informed by marketing experience, but simply by personal design preference.
So I need to remind everyone that Jakob Nielsen is right about the importance of user testing. I have always loved his “Discount Usability Testing” concept. He simply says invite 5 people to use your web site and you will find 85% of the usability problems. The cost of doing this is ridiculously low and yet most companies never watch real people try to use their web site. Therefore, many usability issues go unresolved, costing companies money every day.
If you combine user testing with web analytics (and A/B split testing) you can make your decisions objectively based on real feedback from customers. Then it doesn’t matter who is right. What matter is, which design generates the most revenue?