A/B Testing Redesigns

Redesigning a website can be horrific or insightful. Unfortunately it’s the former 100% of the time. Organizations are lazy with metrics, ‘we will fix them later’, and never think to reduce risk by A/B testing the new design(s). If you decide to be the 1st company to A/B test a redesign here are 5 tips to keep your essential business metrics from falling apart. 

How to start A/B testing a website redesign 

Don’t A/B test an entire website experience. A/B test single pages at a time (small chunks). Don’t boil the ocean.

  • For example, start with your business critical pages. We call these transactional pages – your purchase funnel, sign up page, or lead form are areas where your end users transact.
  • Start on these pages first, one at a time. As you A/B test to a winner, it’s easy for your non-transactional pages (About Us, Contact, Terms, Support) to adopt the new design with little risk.
  • Or ignore this idea, and inspire your team by overworking them over the weekend to push a giant launch with zero metrics. 

Mistakes of website redesigns 

We know you are the new guy. You are told to take big risks. You were hired to shake things up. And a part of you wants to leave a legacy.

  • For example, you come up with the original idea of a website redesign.
  • Don’t do this. Invest in data, take risk off the table.
  • Keep what is left of the organization intact and slowly begin to surface areas of opportunity with data.
  • If you slam the organization with a redesign, you will only create a giant mess for others to clean during your immediate exit. 

A/B testing language 

Language is important. A/B test copy/text first. From top to bottom completely redesign the language of your transactional pages. In most cases this won’t require you to change the images or the visual design of the page.

  • For example, try different recipes that focus on different core themes or a mixture of both: Easy to use, saves time, saves money, specific features, better customer service.
  • You will be surprised how much your end users read – not skim – your pages. “I’m a big believer that people skim” – keep telling yourself that. 

A/B testing design layout  

After you A/B tested language, it’s time to A/B test visual designs and layout. Don’t change the language this time.

  • For example, A/B testing visual designs and layouts give designers an opportunity to play around with things often rarely tested.
  • This is your time to A/B test colors, contrast, layout, brand, images to get a better understanding of what design template and frame your visitors will respond to. Because the language stays intact you will have clarity on what layout is best suited for your visitors.
  • Or ignore this advice completely test both at the same time and try to make sense of the mess. 

Invest in the process

A/B testing a website redesign is a process. It can be fun. It can be exciting. And it can be thrilling each step of the way. A redesign is an adventure uncovering a variety of insights that will inspire leadership and the team around you. However, it will ultimately provide you – as an end result – with a mastery of your end users and what they are responsive to. Harding coding a redesign won’t provide those required insights to run a company effectively. Unless you want to run it into the ground. But this is tech right, companies are never run to the ground…

Puffin.io is A/B Testing Software for Websites. Looking for help setting up your next A/B test? Let us know.