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It seems a lot of companies are happy to work on 'hunches' and best guesses when it comes to user experience, with 45% not conducting any UX testing at the moment. 

However, of these companies, the majority have begun to see the light, with 73% planning to start testing in the next 12 months. 

Our User Experience Survey Report 2013, produced in association with WhatUsersDo, surveyed more than 1,400 digital and ecommerce professionals. 

Here are a few highlights from the survey... 

Extent of companies' UX testing

I think most people working in digital recognise the importance of user experience, but not everyone is putting this into practice. 45% of company are yet to carry out any testing, while 53% of agency respondents say their clients are not doing this.  

While the 'best guess' can get you so far, a systematic approach can pay dividends, and save brands a lot of money. 

On a more positive note, the majority of firms not testing are planning to change their approach in the next 12 months. 

Q: Do you or your clients conduct any user experience testing? 

Barriers to UX testing

Lack of budget is the most commonly listed barrier to testing, with 50% of client side and 65% of agencies citing this as the main issue. 

However, with lower cost user experience testing methods beginning to emerge, and the fact that most marketers see the value in user experience improvement, we expect this to change over the next few years. 

Indeed, as Origin Experience Design's Founder and Director Simon King says, we have come a long way over the past few years: 

If this survey had been conducted five years ago, or even three years ago, we would have seen a very different picture, with testing and UX, in general, still often a marginal activity. We can see through this report how far things have progressed, with agencies and client UX professionals successfully demonstrating the value of testing to improve web-development projects and increasing sales in particular.

Q: Why don’t you or your clients carry out any user experience testing?

Which UX testing techniques produce the best results? 

We asked companies carrying out UX tests, and agencies whose clients did so, for their views on the most effective methods. 

In person and lab user testing may be the most expensive method, but it was the most highly rated method according to our respondents. 

According to Foolproof's Tom Wood: 

Often overlooked and sometimes maligned, good old user depth interviews (i.e. in person / lab user experience testing) emerge well from the survey. This testing technique was the top answer for: being very insightful, for providing the best ROI and for sheer popularity.

User depths come across as the work-horse of modern user experience design, reminding us that there really is no substitute for quietly watching and listening as your target audience grapples with your user experience.

After this, content testing such as MVT was next followed by remote user testing, as offered by Whatusersdo (you can see an example on this site review)

Q: Please select the top three user experience testing techniques that you perceive to provide the best ROI (even if you have not used any of them)

I'll leave the final word to WhatUsersDo CEO Lee Duddell: 

As digital professionals we need to answer “Why?”. We need to understand the why of user and customer behaviour so we can move beyond the incremental improvements that MVT ultimately leads to and step beyond the how many of Google Analytics by applying user insight (and not hunches) to our decision making.

I’d like 2013 to be the year where we convince organisations that user experience = brand and that real improvement and change can only really come about by understanding users.

Graham Charlton

Published 8 February, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Luke Brason

Luke Brason, Head of User Experience at Grass Roots

Great article & thanks for sharing - will doubtless be referred to many times over! 45% of companies doing no testing - wow, shockingly high! And 25% of agency respondents with no plans to do any UX testing - surprised at that number too.

about 3 years ago

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Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

I agree Luke - the numbers are low.

I wonder if the questions could have been clearer?

Eg: instead of "Do you or your clients conduct any user experience testing? "

Maybe to clarify the 'you'
"Does your organisation or your clients conduct any user experience testing? "

about 3 years ago

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