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BuyaCar lets users take the wheel by UX testing its website prototypes

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About Mazy Burns and BuyaCar

Mazy is a UX analyst at Dennis – an award-winning media heavyweight that publishes British and international favourites such as The Week and Auto Express. 

 
Dennis also owns BuyaCar – an online automotive retailer that lets users buy new and used cars from the comfort of their homes. BuyaCar was one of the first companies in the UK to offer new cars for sale over the Internet.
 

Mazy Burns, UX Analyst, BuyaCar

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Low and high-fidelity prototypes tested

Validation

Early concept validation and optimisation led to cost savings

Why was BuyaCar testing its website?

 
BuyaCar was introducing a feature that was novel not just for the brand, but also for the industry – the ability to build or customise the specifications of the car you’re buying online.
 
The savvy digital team at BuyaCar had no intention of relying on assumptions or non-existent best practice. It turned to research when deciding how to create a design and configuration flow that meets the needs of users.  
 
Part of that research involved running remote UX tests (via WhatUsersDo) where people used prototypes of the “build-to-order” feature to complete key journeys, while speaking their thoughts. This would give BuyaCar insights regarding: 
 
  • Concept validation 
  • Journey validation 
  • Information architecture 

 

BuyaCar Customisation
 

How did BuyaCar use remote UX testing?

 
BuyaCar commissioned the WhatUsersDo team of UX researchers to design journeys and tasks for users to complete using the “build-to-order” feature, at the following stages: 
 
  • Prototype stage – low and high-fidelity prototypes that had been built using Marvel were tested
  • Pre-launch stage – the fully designed and functional website was tested, so that changes made based on earlier rounds of testing could be validated
Specifically, BuyaCar wanted to know how comfortable users would be giving away their information, and whether the content and structure of the process was coherent.
 
The WhatUsersDo panel team used pre-qualifying questions to filter out unsuitable users and ensure only people from BuyaCar’s target demographic could test the site. Our analysts watched all the testing videos, tagging all issues with clear titles and noting instances of positive feedback or user validation. 
 
Mazy, who has a strong background in usability testing, also watched all the videos and found additional insights that were outside the brief given to WhatUsersDo. The WhatUsersDo reports included short clips and insights (just like the one below), which she could share with her colleagues.
 
 
 
BuyaCar responded to insights from users like this lady, leading to a better website UX
 

What did BuyaCar achieve from remote UX testing?

Running UX tests at multiple design stages helped BuyaCar proceed confidently with the new feature launch and avoid costly oversights.
 

• Validated the effectiveness of and demand for the build-to-order feature, before pumping money into branding and a fully functional version.
• Gained confidence that users could proceed smoothly, from beginning to end, when customising and buying a car.
• Recognised the need to place logos of well-known brands from the Dennis family (and other trust signals) on the site – some users were less familiar with BuyaCar.
• Started an extensive and ongoing programme of design and conversion optimisation, thanks to insights from testing.

 
BuyaCar Footer.
 
Trust signals and brand logos added to the website footer, based on UX testing insight
 
Mazy converted the main findings from testing into tickets for the development team to work on. 
 
Combining the tickets with clips from usability tests gave the team confidence and a rationale for changes being requested… “Especially when the thing being changed isn’t obviously broken,” Mazy says. 
 
 
 
This gentleman has no qualms giving BuyaCar his details, while using the updated, live website
 

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What does Mazy think about remote UX testing?

Remote UX testing is very helpful in the sense that you can access a wide range of users, target those who fit your requirements and get lots of insights in a short space of time.


 Tips for running UX tests on prototypes

If it can be rendered in a browser, it can be tested
You can test hi-fi or lo-fi clickable prototypes – in fact, you don’t need everything to be in full working condition
The only part that needs to be clickable is the journey you want to test
Set users’ expectations correctly – let them know they’ll be testing a prototype and not everything will work
Don’t ask users to perform impossible tasks
If you’re testing a lo-fi prototype, expect to uncover usability issues but not brand-related insights
Use realistic content, as much as possible, to help users move naturally through the tasks
 

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