Understanding A/B Testing in Web Development Process

Posted on January 15, 2013 by

A/B testing or also known as “split testing” is often used to test website elements during a development process. An effective A/B testing would offer favorable results for customers. In essence, an A/B test would compare two elements in a website. While it may sound tedious to compare two elements at a time, web developers can get deeper and much more detailed results. Developers and designers can determine how changes on specific elements would affect visitors’ behaviors. Without A/B testing less experienced developers and designers may easily jump right into a website project without understanding visitor habits and latest trends.

There are many different reasons why visitors decide to take an action. They may find that your offers are interesting and want to get more details, while some may be loyal customers, which give you easy conversion. People are more likely to perform buying decision when your product or service can revoke some kind of favorable emotion. Maybe they like with how your website feel and look; and feel thoroughly excited. With A/B testing you don’t need to make drastic changes on website elements. Small tweaks like the placement and color of your button can make a huge difference. Once completing an A/B testing, many web developers were pleasantly surprised with significant differences they get.

A/B testing is a low risk method to determine consequences of website changes and developers can make use of A/B testing tools available online. While some tools help developers during the testing process itself, others help them to interpret any result obtained. This method can also help developers to convince clients that one design elements is less effective than others. Most clients would ask developers for evidences that can back up the claim. Many survey results obtained by developers may contain conflicting facts and results. While someone may claim that that one specific way of doing something is superior, others may insist on the opposite. In general A/B testing can help both developers and clients if they are not sure about something.

A/B testing should be performed when clients are working on specific online marketing campaign. As these websites will use modified elements, it’s highly important that clients will get the kind of response they expect. Depending in which Web elements they use, A/B test can be used specifically to gauge the likelihood of success. By testing the font, text size, headlines, images, layout and copy; developers and clients can be sure that everything is on the right track. Web developers should first define what they need to test and how they go about working with such strategy.

Defining Changes
One likely reason for people to perform A/B testing is because there are many things that can be improved with current design. While you don’t know which changes are the most effective, defining changes that you need to make is an important initial step. First you need to define changes for the version A; such a changes on how images are displayed or texts are arranged. Version B may involve changes in the position of form request. These minor tweaks might yield impressive results. Before you start A/B testing, it is important to know how your web pages are performing. Web developers need to determine the original bounce rate and conversion rate. These baseline data would help them know what differences they have made.

Allocate enough time
You shouldn’t decide the outcome of an A/B testing too quickly. Often a couple weeks are not enough. Decisions you make should be statistically sound. Back up your decisions only with accurate data and this could mean performing months of testing. Obviously, results can be obtained much more quickly if you have more visitors. Collecting information on sites with 100,000 of monthly visitors is much easier than on sites that only get 10,000.

Another thing to consider is that A/B testing is an ongoing process and if your traffic and sales begin reach a plateau it’s a good idea to start another test session. Web users are becoming savvier and they know how to appropriately process an information. Some factors of visitor behaviors are different than they were a few years ago. A/B testing is a perfect method for responding to latest changes in online dynamics.

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