on Usability Testing: Designing for Great Experience

Marketers at have been known to call themselves mad scientists. And for good reason.

At eTail West 2013, Stephanie Pertuit, Online Marketing Manager at, discussed her company’s experience with improving site functionality and conversion rates through usability testing – something the company understands very well.

“Experimenting without fear of failure is one of our core values,” said Pertuit.

In the below presentation, she spoke to the challenges of knowing how big is too big to test, testing prioritization and much more.

If you’d like to take a look at the video, here it is:

We’ve also got an excerpt of the transcript for you, as well as the whole transcript here, if you’re more of the reading type. For now, take a taste and see if it suits your fancy:

…Experimenting without fear of failure is one of our core values. It is one of the biggest ones that we talk about, and we believe in it from our customer service and sales to accounting across the board.
The things that we will be talking about today are a few of these things: Testing one-on-one, making it a part of your culture. So, I heard a couple of people say we are in a small company, what do we do to test? And there are so many things that you can do to test; the usability testing, A/B testing, talking to your customers. Once you launched something though, I prefer to do it prior to launching something when you can. But it does not matter how small you are. You can still test. Avoiding testing pitfalls, now obviously there is a lot more than I can go through today, that would be a whole day, but a few things that if you are starting out, it will help you know what you should test. For the ones that we will go through are how small is too small to test, how big is too big to test, and how many times should I fail before I give up, and finally testing prioritization, just because you should test it does not mean you should test it right now, and trying to figure out when you should test it.

So, making it a part of your company culture when it comes to testing, you should ask your employees. They are the ones that are on the front lines if you have a brick and mortar, in our case, we have a massive customer service and sales department. We have about a hundred people that are answering calls every day, talking to customers about what they want, what kind of blinds they want, what they are looking for when they are trying to feel comfortable about buying this complex purchase online. And then, reward people for good ideas. So, what we like to do is when we do a test that is based on an idea from like a customer service or sales rep, we will actually tell every one about it like, “hey, this person within sales gave us this idea.”

One small idea that we had once was one of our sales reps was saying that, “people did not understand the difference between width and height and why don’t you just put a little arrow by width and height and see if that helps?” We did it, and we saw a dramatic increase in conversion and a reduction in the amount of errors….