A/B Testing in Digital Designs | Benefits, Risks and Steps

Sanam Malhotra | 18th July 2019

The greatest challenge for any business is to make the right choice among several other right options. Scott Belsky, the co-founder of online portfolio platform, Behance, summarizes design choice challenges in his following quote –


“Rule of thumb for UX: More options, more problems.”


A/B Testing is a proven methodology to resolve the dilemma of making the right design choices for web interfaces. William Sealy Gosset, a pioneer of modern statistics, implemented A/B testing for the first time in 1908. The primary objective of A/B testing is to analyze and choose the most suitable option among several digital design variations. It is a highly critical process that ensures the effectiveness of UX research services to achieve maximum user adoption.


This blog post evaluates the pros and cons of using the A/B testing methodology to produce digital designs. 


Understanding A/B Testing and the Resources Required


A/B testing is a UX research methodology that involves comparing and analyzing two or more variations of a certain web page or user activity. The process can be followed by UX teams while designing from scratch or redesigning web interfaces.


It involves presenting different design variations to different users. Since the variations are demonstrated as live and functional sites, UX researchers can study user behavior in real-time. User research consultants can closely observe user interactions with the designs to record usability metrics.


Google engineers became one of the first teams to conduct A/B testing back in the year 2000. The motive of running the test was to determine the optimum number of results on its search result page.


Twitter is another leading player who recently used A/B testing to evaluate the usability of its new desktop version.

Until now, only a few users were able to opt-in and “Sneak a peek at the new Twitter.” However, with promising results, Twitter is soon to roll-out the new design to all desktop users.


Pre-requisite Resources


In contrast to advanced usability methods and radical innovations, A/B testing is a comparatively easier technique to understand user needs. Businesses do not require professional UX/UI consulting services to conduct A/B testing for their landing pages, CTA buttons, etc.


Design variations for any page or process can be built in the same manner as original pages. However, it is critical for businesses to carefully choose the target audience for each variation.


For instance, if a user base is more comfortable with smaller fonts should not be forced to test the readability of larger font styles. In such cases, the outcome is more likely to be negative no matter how many design variations a business prepares.


Cost Involved


The overall cost of conducting A/B testing is significantly lower than other UX research methodologies. However, large organizations may find it difficult and challenging to prepare variations of each of their web pages. Therefore, providers of UI UX design services should coordinate with the project’s stakeholders to analyze the feasibility of A/B testing methodology.


Getting Started with A/B Testing


The two variations, i.e. A and B, are tested by different users in the form of live and functional sites. However, UX researchers split the user base into two parts so that one group completes tasks using ‘A’, while the other group uses variation ‘B’. Researchers measure and study the outcomes of the tasks performed by the two groups to evaluate which variation effectively meets user needs.


Some of the measurable actions of A/B testing includes-

1) Users signing-up on a social media platform

2) Users subscribing to an email newsletter

3) Users purchasing products from an e-commerce website

4) Users downloading a mobile app


A/B Testing- Benefits Vs Limitations





Conversions and other KPIs A/B testing is an effective method to identify small improvements that influence sales and conversion ratios of the business.


The improvements in KPIs are temporary in nature and may not be useful for long-term growth projections.


Statistical Significance

A/B tests can study extremely small performance differences. Since heavy real-time traffic is readily available for testing, it is easier to derive statistical significance between two designs.

The data extracted using A/B testing is generally fed into a computer system to calculate differences. It can be problematic for businesses to define each and every measurement criteria for computers.



A/B testing is fast becoming a popular UX research technique among providers of web and mobile app design services. The technique reduces costs, requires limited resources, and provides quick results. It makes A/B testing a preferred choice for several digital businesses. However, user research consultants must study the long-term benefits and drawbacks of A/B testing before implementing it to finalize a UX design. It is essential to avoid any undesirable impact on user experience in the long run.


You may also like to read- 5 Effective Design Strategies to Build Mobile Optimised Sites


UX Research Services for Global Businesses

Our UX research consultants at Oodles Studio conduct in-depth research to fulfill the digital requirements of a variety of businesses across the globe. Our UX research service deliverables include User Persona Generation, Competitive Analysis Reports, Information Architecture Diagrams, and other UX reports. Talk to our UX/UI design team to build intuitive and effective digital interfaces for your business.



About Author


Sanam Malhotra

Sanam is a technical writer at Oodles, covering UI/UX, AI, machine learning, and other digital subject matters. Her writings for Oodles Studio stretches from design principles to engaging mobile applications. Fascinated by the scope of web UI/UX, she explores how businesses can reinforce their brand personalities using next-gen tools and technologies.

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