There is content all over the place. It is often the initial point of contact for your consumers with your product. Organic followers are gained by creating high-quality content. As a result, your content must resonate with them. Content testing ensures that your content is comprehended and well-perceived by your audience.
Testing is an essential part of what we do. We test a lot of different stuff, from CRO testing to mobile app performance testing. So why shouldn’t we do content testing as well? Isn’t content the foundation of everything?
This post will explain what content testing is, why it is important, the many techniques and testing material accessible to you, and step-by-step guidance on organizing and performing your study.
What is content testing?
In a nutshell, content testing is a strategy used to determine if your material is helpful to your consumers and readers. You may utilize content testing to see whether the material you develop connects with consumers, addresses their pain points directly, and gives enough context to help users accomplish tasks effectively.
You should invest in content testing the same way you do in prototype testing, analytics measurement, and user interviews.
Content testing is also commonly employed as part of the content strategy by marketers and content strategists. It is used in this case to determine if your website’s content, such as landing page text, is compelling enough to send your visitors down the marketing funnel.
Related Article: Landing Page Testing [Best Tips and Methods]
You must devote time to testing content since it affects all other areas of your product. And who knows, you could uncover something you never thought of before.
Bad content may radically disrupt a user’s product experience, leaving them confused or unengaged, perhaps driving them away from using your product entirely.
On the other hand, good content may make the user experience (UX) intuitive and prevent users from being confused or interrupted.
We all have a lot of prejudices. Testing is a terrific approach to break free from preconceptions and become aware of things that are hidden from you.
Why is content testing necessary?
When users accomplish their objectives, our companies benefit. We meet our acquisition, retention, and conversion targets. If our users can’t discover what they’re looking for, they’re less likely to join up, buy anything, or stick with a firm.
Content testing reveals whether or not users can access and comprehend vital information; it’s crucial to bring these findings to light and put disagreements about copy revisions to rest.
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Content testing might include more than just determining whether or not the information in your interface is straightforward. It can inform you whether the tone of voice makes sense and if people can comprehend and digest the material properly. If someone visits your website and cannot grasp the value of your product, or if you come off as excessively jargony, the probability that they will buy decreases.
How many content testing methods are there?
There are many content testing methods you can use. Here we will look at the most practical strategies:
1. Task-based usability testing
You may perform a usability test to test material with minor changes to the standard procedure. Participants perform pre-scripted closed-ended activities during a typical and brief usability test (having a ‘right’ response.)
Related Article: The Only Usability Testing Infographic You Must Keep
When testing content, leave tasks open-ended and enable users to explore the product at their leisure. The purpose is to observe how people interact with a website or app, how they locate the information they want, and if they encounter any difficulties. When employing this approach for content testing, you don’t want the user to submit a conclusive response. Instead, you want to see whether the material is explicit and allows consumers to utilize the product effectively.
This kind of testing will provide you qualitative information about what works and what doesn’t and insight into which material may need to be updated or enhanced. Pay attention to what users say throughout the test and their behavior: the two may contradict one another at times.
Usability testing is an excellent chance to ensure that you and your users are on the same page regarding the language used. There’s a good chance that your design is employing words that your users aren’t familiar with. It might be anything as fundamental as the distinction between “settings” and “preferences.”
2. Cloze test
A cloze test assesses your readers’ ability to grasp a piece of material based on context and past knowledge. It works by deleting one word every few words, usually every fifth or sixth, from a 125-word to a 250-word chunk of text.
You show this text to a test subject and measure how many of the missing words they correctly predict. An aggregate score of 60% or above is considered understandable enough to fulfill user demands.
3. Highlight test
Rather than testing for understandability, a highlight test is especially beneficial for determining how people feel about your material. As previously said, the voice of your product is vital, and this test is ideal for determining how your material emotionally connects with consumers.
You’ll need a sample of your text and a red and green highlighter to do a highlight test. You distribute the material to participants and instruct them to underline in green what made them feel confident about the product and in red what made them feel less confident.
If you’re looking for responses and feelings other than confidence, just replace “confident” with any other emotion.
When the test is completed, evaluate the results. You can readily see which portions of the material are often highlighted in red and should be addressed first.
4. Five-second testing
In a five-second test, you display a design to your users and let them look at it for 5 seconds before asking them questions. You may use this approach to test landing page text, UI content, and other things.
Related Article: 8 Worst Mistakes Landing Page Testing Rookies Make + How To Avoid
The questions you ask might be general, such as “What do you think of the page?” or specific, such as “What do you recall seeing?”
It is preferable to begin the test with broad questions to elicit general responses and views from your participants, followed by more focused questions to see what information has remained with them.
You’re testing to determine whether the content on your website can be swiftly ingested, recognized, or comprehended. Five-second testing may help you learn how your consumers interpret a message at first look and what value they take away.
5. A/B testing
Using A/B Testing or split testing is one of the most acceptable methods to incorporate more quantitative data in your UX study. When you put something in front of people in a genuine product and get their input in numbers, you may select which word/phrase is superior.
This form of testing may give essential measures, such as the click-through rate (CTR), that enable you to identify the winning variant quickly. However, to achieve statistical significance, you must have a significant sample size.
Netflix, for example, is well-known for A/B testing artwork for titles to see which visuals perform best in attracting visitors to watch videos.
6. Readability test
Readability formulae are a computer-based testing tool that analyzes your text. They’re a quick and easy approach to see how easy your material is to read by emphasizing tiny words and brief phrases.
However, if you want to test your material with real people, readability formulae may not be the most effective approach. While they may seem to be an appealing option, particularly if you’re on a tight budget, they often cause inconsistencies and provide no useful input. Use readability tests in conjunction with the other approaches listed above for better results.
How do I test user content?
So now that you know why you should test content and what you’re testing for, let’s talk about how you can perform content testing.
This procedure will be divided into six steps:
1. Identify goals
Before you even begin preparing for your content testing, you should evaluate what your goal is. In a nutshell, who and what are you testing, and what are you looking for?
You should have a good idea of your target consumers and their requirements and expectations for your product by this time. If individuals from various demographics utilize your product, it should be evaluated with people from each group. If your test underrepresents a demographic, you risk developing material that does not address all of your personas.
So, choose the information to be tested, develop a solid hypothesis, and you’re ready to begin defining the test.
2. Choose your method and create the test
After determining who and why, you may choose the best testing technique and design the test. The design of a test has a significant influence on its outcome; therefore, it’s critical to examine why and how you’re testing anything continuously.
As an example:
We’d want to see whether our users can figure out how to make in-app purchases. We’ll conduct a task-based usability test to evaluate whether they can execute tasks using the app.
We want to see whether our site appeals to our intended audience. We’ll employ a highlight test to measure their reactions.
We want to understand how consumers perceive our product page at first sight. This first impression will be measured using a five-second test.
Tip: Don’t ask consumers whether they “enjoy” the information during your test. Inquire if they found it easy to browse, whether they understood a piece, and whether the tone made them feel at ease. Keep in mind that you are not creating a fake book here. It makes no difference if the reader “likes” your material in the context of a product. What matters is if it is relevant and understandable.
3. Test the test
After you’ve developed your first test, you’ll want to check whether it makes sense. Before looking for test participants, gather a group of coworkers or other stakeholders and conduct the test with them.
Put it to the test! Making the test and then releasing it to people is a mistake I’ve made in the past. It was around this time that I found flaws in the test while I was running it.
Testing the test will verify that the instructions make sense and that your test takers understand what is expected. This helps people to concentrate on your content rather than deciphering the test itself.
4. Gather test participants
After you’ve designed your test, it’s time to locate some test subjects.
If you’re holding qualitative sessions, you’ll need at least five people to participate. This figure will provide you with a consensus to help you make content choices. If you want to acquire quantifiable data, you should perform the test with at least twenty participants, preferably more. Finally, the number of individuals you need to recruit is determined by the type of the test, the procedure, and the importance of the project.
The primary goal here is to identify representative users for the actual test. Proxy users, such as those with whom you collaborate, may not be the ones who use your product. You’d receive “positive feedback” since they already understand what you’re attempting to teach, but this information isn’t accurate.
5. Conduct the test
You must now select whether to moderate the test or not. Each strategy has its own merits.
You have more control over the test when it is moderated. The presence of a facilitator might provide another layer of feedback from the research. When you moderate these studies, you may ask follow-up questions that are customized to the user. You may comprehend their concerns while also reassuring the test takers.
Allow enough time for participants to read the information and provide comments if you are moderating the test. Unlike regular usability testing, where users perform activities and express their opinions aloud, content testing may need extended periods of silence for both you and the participant. Make it a point to inform the participants that this is OK from the beginning.
You don’t need to locate someone to serve as a moderator for unmoderated testing. This sort of testing is often performed remotely, allowing you to run more tests quicker, even concurrently, resulting in a higher quantity of quantitative data for analysis. Furthermore, it enables you to locate users from all over the globe, which may provide insights into how individuals from other countries interact with your material.
6. Analyze results
You may now evaluate the test results when this round of testing is completed. You should now have a general understanding of how your piece of content operates, as well as details to improve on, whether it’s readability, voice, or any other crucial component.
Take note of the phrase “current round of testing.” This is because these exams are not one-time events. As your product and user base expand and change, you must continue to test to determine whether your content is practical and relevant to them.
Testing is never over. Everything in the product world, in my opinion, is an iteration and should be seen as such.
There are too many advantages to content usability testing to exclude it from your testing strategy. Furthermore, other approaches may be used to meet a wide variety of criteria. I suggest doing a round of content testing if you have the chance. I guarantee it will enhance your product or service. Any of the approaches listed above will have you well on your way to creating clear, concise content.