How UX Testing Drives Web Application Usability

See how enterprise teams are using UX research to improve the usability of web forms, applications and complex flows.

Overnight iteration yields quick fixes for loan application

  • A subsidiary of the world’s 5th largest bank was launching a self-service loan application. They wanted to test it with users to improve the experience prior to launch.
  • We held 2 back-to-back usability testing workshops, testing with 5 users on each day. After Day 1, we made iterative changes to the prototype, and tested the revised version on Day 2.
  • Small, iterative changes yielded noticeable improvements to the experience on Day 2. At the end of Day 2, the team identified further refinements to the flow.

55 testing cycles for a new enterprise support application

  • An enterprise company was designing a new application to be used by 5,000 customer support reps in 10 call centers. The team needed a way to involve the agents in the new system design.
  • We developed and ran a bi-weekly research program with 1,300 reps who went through the numerous flows and forms to complete core tasks.
  • UX insights from 55 testing cycles helped inform the design team. But the biggest win was reps felt invested in the new system long before it was implemented — reducing training and anxiety.

Getting a single-sign-on dashboard right after 9 iterations

  • An enterprise company was launching a single-sign-on dashboard that listed all of a customer’s products on a single page. Multiple teams were stuck debating the flow’s interaction design.
  • We ran 3 rounds of A/B/C click testing — 2 with wireframes, 1 with visual mocks. For each design, we combined qualitative (3 users, 18 tasks) with quantitative testing (100 users, 6 tasks).
  • After iterating through 9 page variations, the team settled on a much simpler IA and UX design that performed better across core tasks.

Helping an enterprise UX team deliver 39 solution ideas in 2 days

  • The UX team at an enterprise company was up against a deadline to give recommendations on 2 key application flows.
  • We conducted a rapid but detailed heuristic evaluation of the flows, looking at both web and mobile app experiences.
  • Within 2 days, we delivered 26 UX recommendations for the first application, and 13 UX recommendations for the second.

How PetSmart fixed a 50% failure rate on mobile faceted search

  • The web team at PetSmart Charities was relaunching its adoptable pet locator. With 60% mobile traffic, they wanted to catch any mobile faceted search problems before moving into visual design.
  • We ran a 100-person click test on mobile wireframes, supplemented by qualitative testing. Over 5 tasks, we asked users to narrow their pet searches by gender, age, color, size, and location.
  • A big problem emerged early in the testing: on each task, 50% of users tapped the wrong button. The team quickly saw the cause — 2 competing buttons to narrow results — and fixed it by combining them.

Uncovering a legalese roadblock via live intercept testing

  • Many customers of a Fortune 500 insurance company started to report their accident claims online, but then called to finish. Management wanted to reduce costs by making it easier to finish online.
  • We recruited 8 customers for “live intercept” usability testing just as they started to report their claim online. We quickly called them and asked them to continue the claims process and think aloud. 
  • By talking to real people who’d just been in an accident, we learned a ton. Our biggest insight: strong disclaimer language on page 1 scared already-fragile users and made them want to talk to someone.

Inspiring bill-pay usability fixes by watching real-world frustration

  • A company with a monthly subscription model wanted to remove friction from its online payment flows
  • Simulating a bill payment scenario in a usability lab is tough. So we intercepted real customers just as they were logging into their accounts. 
  • Motivated by the frustration they saw from real users, the product team fixed 6 payment-related usability issues in their next release.

Validating an interactive quiz MVP in 1 day with SurveyMonkey

  • The communications team at a national nonprofit was preparing to build an interactive quiz to boost awareness of a core issue. Before building it, they wanted proof that the quiz would effectively engage and educate its audience.
  • In a morning, we launched an MVP using SurveyMonkey. While it lacked the design and final scoring of the real thing, we were able to simulate most functionality without a line of code. We recruited 250 users for a mix of qual/quant testing that afternoon.
  • The MVP successfully validated the quiz concept. At above-target levels, people engaged with the content and picked up key concepts. And while we identified 5 usability problems, all were easy to fix prior to building the real product.

Understanding why users leave complex flows

  • A team at a Fortune 500 company was seeing a high drop-off rate for customers getting life insurance quotes, and wanted to understand why.
  • After observing 6 users go through the quote flow, stakeholders agreed that users were confused about how much coverage they needed.
  • The team reached consensus around a coverage calculation feature, and created a plan to help users answer pressing questions through new content on quote pages.

Catching UX problems in wireframes for a new medical registry

  • Our agency partner was building a site for the FTD Disorders Registry and needed to get the UX right before moving from wireframes to visual design.
  • We conducted a wireframe UX audit in 1 dayspotting 9 UX problems and providing a solution for each one — with a focus on the registry application form.
  • Fixing UX problems early helped the agency launch a successful site on budget.