And then we observe the process to see what parts they fly through and where they encounter any challenges.
That type of observational user testing can be very helpful in rooting out problems.
But when using just the data from the session to recommend improvements, you may find stakeholders skeptical. For example we did one project where we found customers were having trouble finding the “check out” button. It was right there on the page but they just weren’t seeing it. When we explained the problem to the business owners of the site who needed to fund the fix we were suggesting they were doubtful. They brought up the screen and made the logical point that the button is “right there!” It’s easy to see.
We then showed them a 5 minute video showing three different customers all struggling to find it and becoming emotionally frustrated because they couldn’t figure out how to check out.
They approved the change.
When you actually see what users are experiencing and get a sense of how those customers are impacted emotionally, you start to empathize and realize how painful you're making it for them.
You get a powerful two-punch effect from this type of research and video presentation. You understand exactly what's going on and how it's happening on the screen is impacting people emotionally.
I once worked on the redesign of the booking process for a vacation resort.
We were asked to present the project vision to the CEO and members of the board.
We were given a brief time slot so we decided to just focus on showing them what the future booking process was going to look like.
We described and illustrated how, in the future, the customer was going to be able to automatically search across all of the company’s properties and easily book their preferred location, room and amenities.
We then demonstrated how if the customer wanted to make a change later, they could go back and modify their reservation with just one click. Simple and easy.
When we were done, the CEO didn't really look that excited. He said, “But isn't this pretty much how it works today?”
And of course, no, that was not at all how it worked. Customers had to search each property individually, amenities such as spa appointments couldn’t be booked online at all and if a customer wanted to make a change to an existing reservation they had to call the call center.