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July 11, 2023 - 6 minutes

The Importance of A/B Testing in UX/UI Design

Heard of A/B testing but not sure how to put it into practice? 

Juliette Carreiro - Tech Writer

You’ve heard about A/B testing and it makes sense, right? Testing two options to see which one works best seems like a great way to make decisions and that’s exactly what UX/UI designers do when making a final decision on a design. 

Or maybe you haven’t heard about A/B testing and are a little confused with what it means and how it can be of use in UX/UI design. No worries: stick with us and we’ll outline what A/B testing is, the purpose it can serve, and how to harness its potential in the field of UX/UI design. 

What is A/B Testing? 

To put it simply, A/B testing is when you compare two different solutions side-by-side to discover which one works best with your desired parameters. It can also be called split testing or bucket testing and is a very popular strategy in tech. It can be used to see which web page element, font size, image, or web design is more visually appealing, but it can also be launched to see to which the users better respond. 

To understand the need for A/B testing, an important pillar of marketing needs to be mentioned: all customers are different and their behaviors are determined by their surroundings. Even in completely identical situations, customers can make random decisions that affect companies differently; there’s no perfect way to predict customer decision-making, of course, but A/B testing can provide you with real life examples of how customers react to two different options. 

Benefits of A/B testing in UX/UI design

As a field where visual designs can define the success of a campaign, UX/UI designers frequently employ A/B testing as a helpful tool to narrow down their decision-making process. And when A/B testing is used correctly, it can lead to: 

  • Increased web traffic: with better titles and headings for your content, you’ll be able to attract more visitors to your page.

  • Higher conversion rates: finding out that customers are more likely to click your CTA when it’s green and has a visual icon means that you’ll convert more and more visitors into clients. 

  • Lower bounce rate: are customers quickly leaving your website or a certain page? By changing small factors one by one, you can determine the cause of their page abandonment and work to improve it. 

Let’s dive right into A/B testing and give some examples, key rules, and what to look for upon finishing the experiment. 

Keys to A/B testing in UX/UI design

It might be tempting to test two completely different designs to see which works best, but A/B testing actually gives you the best results when you focus on a very specific metric. It sounds like a lot of work for a little change, but all marketers know that the smallest adjustment can bring around significant results. Here are some of the keys to A/B testing to keep in mind when planning your own experiment: 

  • Figure out problem areas: this is an obvious first step! Your A/B tests shouldn’t be random aspects of the website that you think can be improved; you should try to see what isn’t working for customers, update the pages that are receiving the least amount of page views, and listen to customer feedback. Once you know why customers aren’t buying your product or service or even staying on the page long enough to explore, you’ll have a better idea of what you can fix. 

  • Remember each company and customer is unique: what works for another company won’t work for you, no matter how similar you think the two are. When deciding on room for improvement, check out what competitors do, but don’t let yourself get carried away trying to copy them. A green search CTA button might be getting lots of traction on your competitor's website because the backdrop is a simple yellow; if you add a green CTA on your blue background, it may get lost.

  • Make smart, data-driven decisions: we know there are lots of things you’d like to improve, but you probably don’t have the time nor the resources to do all of them. When it comes to figuring out the precise areas where you want to run an A/B test, make sure you use data to figure out problem areas, such as the pages with the lowest page visits or conversion rates. This will help you target the exact areas that will have a bigger impact on your success. 

  • Define your goals and track your results: the most effective A/B tests have a clearly identified goal, helping you make sense of the results and turn them into actionable insights for your company. And as you start receiving data, make sure you record the information so that it can be of use in the future. 

Examples of A/B Testing in UX/UI Design

It might be hard to fully understand what we mean by A/B testing, so let’s give you some examples so that you can apply them to your own tests. 

  1. Button placement: does a CTA work best at the top of the page or the bottom? Some of your team may think that it’s best to have it at the bottom, once the user has finished consuming all the information; others may think that having it as the first thing users see is better. To test which works best for your website, you would create two separate designs and place the CTA at the bottom on one and on the top on the other. Then offer each option to different groups of users, hopefully of equal numbers, and then see how each performs. 

  2. Subject lines in emails: are users more likely to open an email that has their name in the subject line? Or is it best to keep it generic? For your upcoming email campaigns, half your customers will receive an email with their name and half without; once the campaign is over, you can see which email had more clicks and overall success. 

  3. Logo design: is a yellow logo too similar to another design or a red one impossible to read? With A/B testing, random groups of clients will encounter each design option and once the test is over, you’ll be able to pick the one to which clients best react. 

We could go on and on–after all, customer decision-making is constantly changing and new factors are affecting the way they shop and consume content online. That’s why A/B testing’s role in UX/UI design specifically is set in stone; any up and coming UX/UI designer needs to be familiar with A/B testing and ready to employ it in their next project. 

If you’re interested in UX/UI design and what else UX/UI designers need to keep in mind, Ironhack’s UX/UI Design Bootcamp is expertly planned to teach you exactly what you need to know to excel in the field. Interested? Check out our course here: 

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