A/B Testing: User Experience vs Conversion
I've written a couple of posts over the last few months about my experiences with A/B testing and one conversation we often used to have was around user experience vs conversion rate.
Once you start running an A/B test it encourages you to focus more on the conversion rate of users in different parts of the flow and your inclination is to make changes that increase that conversion rate.
Another one of our drivers is to provide the best user experience that we can to our customers and since sometimes this means that the best thing for them is not to switch it seems that these two must be in conflict.
I found it particularly interesting seeing how the conversion rate could be impacted by the way that information was displayed to a user.
This was an idea that I first came across when reading about how the Obama campaign used A/B testing where they noticed big changes in conversion rates by making small tweaks to sentences and imagery.
Our goal from a user experience perspective was to put all the information in front of the user so that they could make an informed choice about what to do.
Initially we made the negative features of the plans very prominent and had them in a large font which led to a drop in conversion.
We assumed that people were now giving more importance to the negative features than was warranted e.g. some plans had a cancellation fee but it typically only accounted for 5% of the saving they'd make by switching to the plan.
When the product is a bit more complicated we could argue that we improve the user experience by helping the user to make an appropriate choice.
On a website the way that we do this is by how we display information by changing the font size, font weight, positioning and a variety of other things.
It's an interesting balance to find between the two drivers but if we veer towards conversion at all costs then although we'll get a higher conversion rate in the long term we'll have some frustrated customers who won't use our website again.
If we look at it that way then the two drivers don't seem so opposed to each other.