Users Don’t Read.

A blog on the topic of Content strategy with the title Users Don’t Read. This is going to be interesting.

Content strategy ranks high up on one of my favourite things to be part of. In chatting with our in house video content creator, I suggested we create a video series titled “Ask The Expert”. In this series we could get social interaction where users could tweet us their industry questions and we would create a video response. Partly inspired by the insanely popular Kids React YouTube channel and also Matt Cutts’ video series – an unlikely marriage of ideas.

Questions in hand, videos done, we created a page that introduced the concept and how users would ask us their questions. The first few videos did not talk about the concept. It dove directly into answering the question.

I checked our social media accounts and Analytics. Dead silence.

I wanted quick results as we were about to shoot our next video. I needed to see what was wrong with our new fancy series that promised to take over the world. I needed to ask users what they thought of our new series.

The problem became clear in 5 seconds. I walked up to a co worker who wasn’t familiar with our new series and asked him to go to the page and do whatever – open ended. He went to our page, saw the giant video, and clicked on the giant play button. He did not read the copy that explained the concept.

I repeated this with two other co workers with the exact results. While this is not truly testing users in the wild, It gave me enough of an assumption or a hypotheses.

I gathered 10 users in a conference room with a more scientific approach of crafting a Smartsheet with questions and a task. This time, I invited our video content creator and he filmed the test for each user. The results were the same as the initial test, but also brought up much more interesting user behaviour.

What we learned is that when we present a video, that filled up the width of the content column, and it also featured a big play button (default Wistia button), users gravitated towards that and clicked the button.

Users don’t read if there is an easier, more passive way of consuming content.

We’ve since introduced the message into the video, short and snappy, and re-tested. Yes, re-tested. It was amazing, the amount of details the users got out of the new video.

Everyone has the budget for user testing. The cheapest way is to ask a few friends and employees to help out. Record them on your iPhone. At the least, these efforts would warrant a budget for a more large scale user testing.

Happy low-budget testing!

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