How Usability Testing Can Help Pinpoint Customer Pain Points

  • #PersuasiveWebsites
  • #UserResearch
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In the digital marketing industry, we hear a lot about customer pain points. Usually, a customer pain point refers to their problem, or need, that you have the potential solution for. Recognizing pain points are important for targeting the right audience. What might be “pain” for them, turns into opportunity for you – except for the times when your website design is the source of the pain.

Instead of only using pain points to identify a market’s need, we also need to be looking at how website design and usability might be producing unnecessary pain points during visitor interactions. They came to you with a problem, need, or want. They’re counting on you to be the solution and it’s up to you to hold up your end of the bargain. Usability testing can help you do this.

The Need for Usability Testing

You definitely need to pay attention to the elements of UX that matter most, but every customer and every detail matter. What might be a minor glitch on just one person’s radar could turn into a major UX issue further down the road. You want a complete picture of what your visitors, each of them, expect from you.

Usability testing makes sure there’s no UX stone left unturned. By testing your website and gathering UX feedback from multiple, it becomes possible to create a UX that eliminates the common pain points of your customers and address usability issues that might not have otherwise occurred to you.

Pain Points Identified

You’ve designed your website with UX in mind and you’ve gone over every single element repeatedly. You’re certain it’s a smooth and seamless design. The only flaw in this is you’re working with a perfect scenario assumption. Not every customer is going to use your website in the exact same way. Even a minor shift can result in unforeseen usability issues.

While pain points can appear anywhere on the website, there are specific usability areas that are known troublemakers for UX:

  • Navigation: With mobile optimization being so crucial right now, businesses are doing a better job of using responsive web design to make their sites more usable from multiple devices. This is a plus in the pain point battle. Still, companies need to be digging deeper. What happens when the user navigates away from the homepage? Are they still able to easily navigate when they’re 4, 5 or 6 pages deep? Each step brings them closer to conversion, the last thing you want is for them to end up frustrated at that point.
  • Onboarding: Whether they’re committing to a service or signing up for a free trial, the onboarding process should be frictionless. Too often, businesses make the onboarding process longer and more difficult than it needs to be.
  • Relatable Content: You’ve heard repeatedly that content is king. But, nobody wants to waste time sorting and navigating through content that has no purpose or relevancy. Users will bounce out if that can’t immediately identify the reason for being on your website.
  • Check out: It isn’t safe to assume that you’ve won a customer just because they’re ready to check out. You’re probably one of multiple retailers they can be getting this product, or something similar, from. A checkout process that’s unnecessarily long and involves multiple pages is going to be a quick turn off, especially for the mobile user. On the SeaWorld project, our senior leadership needed to optimize the check out process for SeaWorld’s online visitors to improve conversions.

The bottom line? Anything that interferes with the users’ ability to complete their goals can be considered a pain point. Even the most UX friendly design can be at risk. Usability testing will help identify pain points before they become a problem for your business.

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Abdul Suleiman
Abdul SuleimanChief Experience Officer
Abdul Suleiman

Abdul has helped over 40 Fortune 500 companies make informed user-centered design decisions through evidence-based user research and UX best practices. As an Adjunct Professor, Abdul has taught in DePaul University’s graduate UX programs and for nine other universities.

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