Friday, May 08, 2009 5/08/2009 04:05:00 PMIn Made to Stick, the authors warn us about the curse of knowledge. Simply stated, once we know something it's hard to imagine us not knowing something.
When looking at our websites, we know how they work. We know where to find the Add to Cart button. We know that we'll pick shipping options after we enter billing information. We know the answers to questions that visitors have on their minds, and it's very hard for us to put ourselves in their shoes.
So I'd like to introduce to you, the Mom Tests:
All mothers want what's best for their children, which is, of course, why we love our mothers. While some moms have taken to the Internet with fervor, not all of our mothers are blogging, facebooking, tweeting machines. Moms are always willing to lend a helping hand and give their advice. Here are two ways your mom can help you improve your website.
The Mom Usability Test
Ask Mom to complete a task on your page. You'll want to have her start like an actual visitor would. So, think about how visitors arrive to your page. You could look in Google Analytics at Top Entrance Pages and see how people get to them, or start with a Google search and go from there. Ask your mom to try to buy something on your page or sign up for more information. Ask her to think out loud if she has any questions. Don't try to help or tell her what she should be doing. Just watch and take notes.
The Mom A/B Test
When people test their pages, they often try to test very small changes. Minute changes, like the use of a semicolon or the use of Arial font versus Verdana font (see the difference?), often have no effect on conversions. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that users make a decision to stay on a page or leave in less than 5 seconds. That means, any change you are testing needs to stand out within 5 seconds.
So where does Mom come in? Show your mom your A page and your B page and ask her what's different. If she struggles to spot the differences, your changes may not be big enough. As for which page will convert better, that's where testing with Website Optimizer comes in.
We hope the Mom Tests help you improve your website and bring you and your mother a little closer this weekend. Happy Mothers' Day to all the Moms out there.