The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

How to Decide Between a DIY UX Tool or a Full UX Test

With all the new do-it-yourself UX tools available to professionals, it’s becoming more difficult to know which direction is the right one for your company. You might spend hours researching different Usability companies as well as their various online tools trying to decide if a full usability study or a quick online survey is the best option for your site/app.
Hopefully the scenarios below would provide guidance when choosing what the type of research methodology will yield the best insights.

  • Scenario 1: While redesigning your company website, there’s some debate amongst your team about customer’s preferences. Do they like the shopping cart labeled ‘My Cart’ or ‘My Bag’ or do they prefer the add to cart button be green or red?
    • In this case, an online DIY tool is the best option to quickly gather users’ preferences.
  • Scenario 2: Let’s say you’ve already found a problem on your site and fixed it. But wait, that fix has created a whole new set of problems. Now you need to make sure that fixing these new problems won’t create even more.
    • In this case, you’ll need to quickly identify the major pain points associated with the problem(s) and also test whether specific solutions effectively solve them. Agile or Rapid Iterative Testing is the method to identify problems with a website, followed immediately by implementation of feasible solutions, which is then followed by further testing to ensure the problem is addressed correctly.
  • Scenario 3: You want to see how your site measures up to similar sites. What do both your customers and non-customers think of the site? Are they able to properly utilize the site and find the info/products they want?
    • For this type of issue, a Competitive Usability Test to see a side-by-side comparison of similar websites/apps would be the best option. The point is not to determine which one comes out on top, but instead to identify each one’s strengths and weaknesses from a customer’s point of view.
  • Scenario 4: You’re noticing a lot of site abandonment but aren’t sure why the users are leaving your site.
    • This one’s tricky, a quick site-intercept survey might give a quick answer as to why the user chose to leave and may be enough to resolve the issue. However, if the site intercept survey highlights the problem but not the solution, consider testing users in the lab to come up with the best options for resolution.

So the super short answer to DIY VS a full usability study? Quick preference issues go the DIY route while anything in-depth – which require follow up questions – need the full usability route. If you want more information or you aren’t sure what you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we would be glad to help

-Ashley Connor, Associate User Experience Analyst,Usability Sciences


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