How to Test Visual Design

Many teams I work with are interested in measuring exactly how their visual design affects the overall user experience, some aspects of visual design are pretty easy to assess. For example, people form first impressions about visual appeal almost instantly. So you can assess these overall impressions by briefly showing people a design, then asking them to list a few words, describing it by visual design. Details like fonts, colors and layouts can have important effects on the U.S. that reach far beyond the initial first impression. And measuring these effects is a little bit more challenging. There’s two main techniques to keep in mind if you want to make data driven choices about these visual design details.

The first is to assess both opinion and behavior because subtle differences like slightly larger fonts won’t be noticeable to most users at first glance. So to find out how these larger fonts affect the U.S., you need to actually let people interact with the design and read some content. Then you can observe things like how much they read or how much they understood the other techniques. Keep in mind is to test multiple versions of the design with different visual approaches and compare your results. This comparison increases the sensitivity of your test so it’s easier to identify differences and understand what caused them. You can do this type of comparison using an AB test if you have an unambiguous, measurable goal of that particular part of the design, such as getting more people to sign up. But you can also do comparisons with simple usability testing. And this is a good choice when there’s not a single specific goal. And it can be very sensitive to small effects because you can have the same user test more than one variation. If you do this, make sure to vary the order in which you show people the different designs so that you don’t show everyone the same version first.

While there is a subjective component to esthetic impressions, by using good research methods, you can ensure that your visual design is usable and appealing to your audience, not just to your designers or internal decision makers.

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