When developing a project, some of us have many masters to answer to. The marketing people want a mailing list and data on the customers, the CEO wants flash and pizzazz, and users want something that lets them carry out their transaction with you as painlessly as possible. Sometimes, these wants are in conflict with each other.
I’d like you to head over to the $300 Million Button. It’s one of my favorite usability testing success stories. A large e-commerce site used usability testing to learn how users really felt about some of these requirements. This hard data led to changes that made the site better for users and revenue better for the business (doesn’t everyone win in this case?).
You can also use Feedback Army to get feedback of this type. If there is a controversial feature getting built, ask several people to try it and see how they respond. In this case, I’d write:
We’re testing the checkout process of our e-commerce site. We don’t expect you to pay but would like to know how you feel about it. Select an item from our store and get as far as you can during checkout. Then answer the following questions:
1. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to complete the checkout process? Why?
2. What slowed you down?
3. What could make it faster for you?
4. What part of the process did you like?
5. What part of the process annoyed you?
With these questions, you can find out how users feel about that particular process and take an appropriate action.