Improving user reviews: results and conclusions usability test – IT Pro – .Plans

After researching the user reviews on Tweakers, we did a usability test with a new design of the product review form. We would like to inform you about our results and the intended direction in which we want to further develop the product reviews.

Survey results

In March, we conducted a survey to find out what your wants and needs are when it comes to user reviews on Tweakers. We have previously shared the results of the study in a .plan. The results showed that you place great emphasis on user reviews. Important spearheads are the independence of the reviews and the need for many reviews from different users. Good scannability of the review through pluses and minuses, a summary and assessments based on specific criteria are also considered important.

The main obstacles to writing a review were the lack of time and the readers’ expectations, which were too high.

Concept

We have started working on these insights and have redesigned the review form with the aim of making it more accessible to write reviews. In the usability test, we tested a working prototype of this form, making the following changes:

  • On the desktop, the form appears in a slide-in overlay so that the form can be displayed in the context of the environment in which you clicked the button to write a review. For example, you can quickly write reviews of products you own from your warehouse, or write a review on the review tab for a product, while in the background you can sneak a peek at what others have written in their review.
  • The fields for a brief and a comprehensive explanation have been merged so that there is no longer a hard line between a brief and comprehensive review. You decide how long or short your review should be. We hope this will make it easier to write a concise review.
  • You determine the final score and rating by separate rating criteria, such as image quality and battery life, by clicking on stars instead of moving the sliders. This display is clearer and reduces the visual load.
  • The link to related products has been removed.
  • You can choose from a concise and comprehensive review. By choosing a comprehensive review, you enable others to respond to your review.

In the display of reviews on the review tab, we have also changed some parts:

  • In the feedback on the survey, many individuals indicated that they find a 0 or +1 moderation for a brief review to be demotivating. In the prototype, we have therefore replaced the 0 / + 1 / + 2 / + 3 system, with which you can rate reviews from others with a simple thumbs-up.
  • The explanation of a review can be extended if it is longer than three lines.

Results

The usability test was conducted among six respondents aged 18 to 39 years. All respondents were regular visitors, and two of them had previous experience writing reviews.

Respondents stated that they attach great value to reviews on Tweakers, especially because of the writers’ quality and level of knowledge. At the same time, the high quality of user reviews was mentioned as a reason not to write reviews themselves. Several respondents felt that their own review would have little added value, or that it would take too much time and effort to write a review at a ‘worthy’ level. At the same time, the respondents indicated that they found both long and concise reviews useful. We heard similar noises in the responses to the .plan and forum topic about the survey.

As far as the user experience is concerned, the review form was not an obstacle when writing a review. Stars proved to be a bit more comfortable than sliders to rate the product. There was also a slight preference for a thumbs-up rather than a 0 / + 1 / + 2 / + 3 moderation of reviews due to the simplicity of a thumbs-up.

The main result for us was that mental barriers are the biggest barriers to writing reviews. Particularly high expectations ensure that people do not get around to writing a review. What was further indicated is that visitors to Tweakers are not sufficiently tempted and encouraged to write a review, for example from a wish list, inventory or price alert.

Follow up

Our intention is to plan the improvements of the form in a development print soon, after which we can shift our attention to solutions that stimulate writing reviews (short, comprehensive and everything in between). Of course, we are happy to inform you about this when the time comes.

Tell us your opinion

We’d love to hear what you think about the proposed changes. We also welcome feedback on whether you would like to be able to assess for yourself whether it is possible to respond to your review. Our assumption is that this could remove the hesitation of writing a concise review for fear of critical reactions. Tell us in the poll below.

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