I stumbled upon a great post from Andy Edmonds at Always Be Testing about ways testing can be used. Here’s the list he came up with:
Business Acceptance Testing
Example: You want to add yet another shortcut on the homepage for a new sub-audience. Use testing to validate you didn’t mess up the other functions of the homepage.
That new search function is going to cost you X thousands of dollars. How long will it take to provide a positive return on investment.
Design Choice Determination
The boss thinks the logo should be purple. You don’t.
Multivariate methods are really valuable for this use case. Say you wanted to ask the question, “Is copy at the top of our product pages worthwhile? Or should we just drop it and get more products above the fold?” A multivariate test can let you vary the size & quality of the copy, along with other elements that push the product down the page, and assess the general impact of products higher on the page as well as the general impact of good copy.
Off the top of my head, I would change the definition for Customer Understanding though. You can learn more than something as specific as, “Should I put copy here or there or remove it?” Test different messaging by testing fear based versus lifestyle based content. It allows you to find out which messages really hit at home with your readers. Not only will that help you improve that page, but it will teach you why your users want your product or service in general.
In short, testing answers “Does this work or not?” Give the customer choices and let them do the hard work deciding what works best. Makes being a marketer easier doesn’t it?
Photo credit: e-magic via Flickr