Track Site Design Changes


Usability is like love. You have to care, you have to listen, and you have to be willing to change. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s where growth and forgiveness come in.

Jeffrey Zeldman, American entrepreneur, web designer, author, podcaster and speaker on web design via A List Apart

How do you plan and track website design changes?

Successful online retailers obsess about their site design. When done right, this obsession is grounded in providing customers with a clear understanding of everything the site has to offer along with a clear path to purchase. The job is complicated by continual pressure to add features to keep up with rising consumer expectations. There is also pressure to make changes just to keep the site looking fresh and new. Every change has the chance to introduce bugs in the user experience, in product findability, in trusted modes of navigation, in everything customers have historically relied upon. It’s hard to get UX right and keep it right.

Website Design

Most ecommerce sites rely on some form of split testing to allow actual customer behavior to determine whether changes are working and to mitigate risks. Consulting companies like Fearless Technology Group (FTG) work with retailers to ensure their front end sites have the ability to constantly run A/B tests with every non-trivial change and there are dozens of products and techniques available to set up and monitor tests. Bottom line, retailers spend significant time and money ensuring site design changes are improving customer satisfaction and conversion rates. Recite can make that effort much more effective.

How can Recite help?

To find your way forward you must know where you’ve been. It sounds trivial but let’s use an example to show how even a simple change can generate churn without something like Recite in place. FTG was engaged with a company looking to change the way prices were displayed in their product detail page’s buy box. Using Recite, the customer was able to look at how prices were rendered in similar split tests in the past. They discovered that a price display split test was conducted in 2014 (and several more times in the more recent past!) that measured changes to price display. Here is an example measuring whether customers preferred prices italicized or not:

Knowing all the split tests performed in the past, they decided to focus the new A/B test on whether the percent of customers who chose to click “Add to Cart” would differ based on whether the price was rendered in black versus red. They ran the split test in March 2020:

It’s amazing that such subtle changes can matter!

Here is an example where a retailer tested a much more significant change in the main banner for their Home Department. This test was conducted back in 2013. If the retailer was to look at the split test metrics for this experiment, would the numbers make much sense without a visual record of what the customer actually saw?

These are just a few examples where Recite can make a huge difference when planning and testing user experience changes. To find the best path forward you must know where you’ve been.

Recommendations

  1. Set up Recite to capture representative page templates on a weekly basis.
  2. Use Recite tags to identify design changes and test variants.
  3. Review historical changes alongside analytics to evaluate past performance.
  4. Plan future design changes with knowledge of what has worked and not worked in the past.

We hope you use Recite to enhance your site changes. If you’d like to give Recite a try, you can sign up for a free trial here.