Take an example. Suppose you are changing the home page of your website. You could spend months of expensive testing, showing test subjects different alternatives, and then choose the one that tests best. And when you do, you will undoubtedly find out that part of the design did not work that well, just because you can’t test everything up front.
But suppose, instead, you did only the amount of user testing required to avert disaster—just enough to be sure that you aren’t changing your home page to something really dopey. And then you instrumented your site so that every link on the home page, every piece of content, and every image is measured. Which ones get higher clickthrough rates? Which ones get higher conversion rates? Keep those and change the rest to something else and measure them again. Change them every day until you have weeded out the things that don’t work and kept those that do.
With user testing, you not only find out something did not work, but you found out why, which is useful. But measuring what happens every day on your site is important, too. Which project would you rather run? The one with scads of user testing that doesn’t measure clicks after the fact, or the one that measures and adapts every day? The heavily-tested project might launch with a better home page than its alternative, but the metrics-laden project would eventually surpass it just by experimenting. And the metrics-happy project might have launched months sooner and cost a lot less, too.
Now, don’t take this to the extreme. Sometime risk mitigation is important, even critical. You can’t do every project wrong quickly. Who would want to take a plane’s first flight where they did it wrong quickly? But redesigning your home page does not have the same danger as a plane crash, and we should not run that project as though it does. Resist treating every project like it has to be perfect on Day 1, and start treating your website as an experiment that you make a little better everyday.
Up NEXT, use the Reflect section to review what you’ve learned in this unit. Once you’ve finished the assessment, click DONE to navigate to the Units Page. From there, select ‘Unit 5–Hallmark 1: Data, Not Opinions’ to continue.