We used five remote user testing techniques to analyze Yelp for our ebook

Kathryn Reeves

hero_remoteuser.pngHere’s a short intro to what you can expect to read about in Chapter 3 of our upcoming ebook.

In our UX redesign process, we ran five different types of remote user tests on Yelp's desktop website. We gathered numerous insights, and we were able to ensure that our new prototypes were backed up by sound data. Here's an over of the tests and objectives of our UX research.

We gathered qualitative data by observing and analyzing filmed user tests

We wanted to learn how semi-frequent Yelp users complete very common tasks (to learn which features are most important) and at least one uncommon task (to gauge if they can learn how to use a more advanced feature). To do this, we used UserTesting's filmed user tests to observe how effectively participants could:

  • find a business based on specific requirements
  • find a business without being given many requirements
  • find a specific location to learn specific information.

We gathered quantitative data by running four remote user tests

Our process here involved using closed card sorting and first-click testing to test the homepage (the same page we analyzed for qualitative data). And we used tree testing and open card sorting to test Yelp's support site.

1. Closed Card Sorting

Closed card sorting allows users to organize information based on existing categories. It's a great study to run when you've already designed an IA you're happy with, and you need insights into how users would categorize content within these top level labels. We used closed card sorting for a different reason: we wanted to determine:

  • how often people use the feature search filters on Yelp
  • which feature search filters are the most important to the most people
  • which feature search filters are the least important to the most people.

2. First-Click Testing

Click testing shows which part of the interface is most important to users upon first impression when they’re given a specific task. It shows success rates based on how often and how many users click in the correct place to complete the task, and displays the results as head or grid maps.

We ran the first-click test to determine:

  • if the navigation labels are clear enough for users to complete tasks quickly
  • how many participants went straight for the search bar.

3. Tree Testing

The first test that we ran on the support site, tree testing, shows us how users interact with the navigation in the absence of a search function.

Companies can neglect their support sites over time, becoming bloated and disorganized as unconnected people add content at the speed of thought. As a result, the information architecture can lose functionality over time. Therefore, our objectives were to:

  • test clarity and effectiveness of the Yelp support site information architecture
  • reveal which parts of the support site navigation are confusing to users.

4. Open Card Sorting

Open card sorting was the second test we ran on the support site since we now wanted to see how users could categorize information without an existing information architecture. This would give us deeper insight into their thinking processes and help us work backwards from the user.

By running an open card sort, we wanted to:

  • figure out how users might logically categorize content on Yelp’s Support Site
  • get insight into better IAs based on how users categorize information
  • pinpoint those 'miscellaneous' items that users found difficult to categorize.

Stay tuned for the results of these studies — you may find them surprising

The goal of all of the above types of testing was to refocus the design on the user. After all, if you’re not designing for users, then you’re really just designing for yourself.

To see these results in detail, and to also see how the results of these 5 tests influenced the Yelp redesign, sign up for an early copy of the upcoming ebook below.


Kathryn Reeves

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