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Is web design really subjective?

Sarah Graveling
Sarah Graveling
Creative Director
8 June 2010

We recently completed a project for YOUR Insurance, a part of the Towergate Group Ltd. The project was a full conversion design project, including a complete rebrand to position itself as a leading business insurance quote comparison solution.

Along with the usual functional usability testing on the comparison prototype, we also completed some emotional response feedback on the new homepage and site design. Users were asked to circle the things they liked in green pen and the things they didn’t like in red pen.

Users liked:

Your Insurance - Green pen

Your Insurance - Green pen

Users didn’t like:

Your Insurance - Red pen

Your Insurance - Red pen

You can tell with a glance that the feedback was very positive. The negative responses we understood, such as the Knowledge Centre we renamed as there was some confusion and this is on the homepage to keep it fresh anyway, so not necessarily user-focused.

What I was more surprised about was how consistent the feedback was… all the testers only had one thing in common, that they had purchased business insurance before, other than that they were very different, whether it’s a young women or an older gentleman and generally the all liked/disliked similar things.

Functional testing is easier to decipher, if users don’t understand the question or they can’t use it then it needs to be explored, but with emotional testing I didn’t expect the feedback to be as positive or consistent.

I’ll definitely be encouraging our clients to do more emotional testing in future, it ensures the project team are making the right decisions, so that the site is maximising its potential on launch. After all if users don’t trust the way a site looks they’ll leave, so it can be just as important for conversion as the functional testing.

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