What’s a definitive way to really test your product or landing page hypothesis, see if users understand your value proposition and actually get your onboarding flow? UX testing sounds complicated, but it can be super simple yet very effective. In this episode, Quinn Zeda from Conversion Crimes speaks about why, when, and how to set up a successful UX test – tune in now!
Welcome to Product Stories where we explore how founders build successful software products. This a podcast about product management, development, remote work and anything else non-technical as well as technical founders need to know to launch and scale software products. Today’s guest is Quinn Zeda, founder of Conversion Crimes, and she will tell us how UX testing improves user experience and takes the guesswork out of optimizing any flows and funnels that you have. Quinn, Welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I’ve been looking forward to this one a lot. Because first I had to reschedule it, then I had to reschedule it again, then you had to reschedule it, we did finally make it. So, let’s dive into UX testing. But first, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Yeah, so, I’ve never had a job. So, I started my business right out of college, it was really interesting. I thought I wanted to be like this big creative director at an agency. And I went on like a tour. And they’re like, yeah, this is like the desk, you’re gonna sleep under, you have any hobbies? Like, forget about it, you’re gonna be the first one and the last one out. I was like, oh, that sounds scary. I think I’ll just start my own business.
And you probably ended up working the same way anyway.
Yeah, I mean, but it’s, but it’s my journey, you know, instead of like doing something for someone else, I got to do it for myself. So, I ended up freelancing for many years. And then I ended up getting more jobs than I could handle. So, I started to outsource to other freelancers. And eventually, that kind of turned into an agency. And I ran a Conversion agencies data lab for I don’t know, maybe like the last like five years or so. And we helped seven-figure businesses scale. So, you know, visually, like, we’re all building things, we duct tape stuff together, we figure it out. And then they’re like, oh, we have a thing now. And we need like, you know, we need it to turn it into something else who would come in, and we’d like, destroy everything and like, rebuild it for them to help them get ready for scale. And that’s when we kind of found that the 8020 of CRL. And user experience was– user testing what’s kind of led to me building my own SaaS Conversion Crimes. So, it’s been a really fun journey.
That’s awesome. What’s the main problem that you’re solving? What does it do?
So, we use user testing at the agency. And we use a tool that was called Peek by user testing, where you could get like a free user test every month or something like that. And when they got rid of it, we didn’t really have a way to use that tool anymore. Because all of the user testing companies out there are built for the enterprise, they have a ton of features. They’re really expensive, it’s hard to use. And so, we were like, hey, let’s build this for the SME market for small businesses.
Yeah, that’s awesome. How did you validate it? What’s your prototype essentially?
So, the first thing I did was I built a paper in VP. So pretty much I used my Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. I don’t know if you know what that is. But it’s like this micro workforce where people do things for like, I don’t know anything from like one cent to like $20. These like kind of small microtasks. And so, I set up with Google Forms, to kind of set like the test questions and like, gather the data from testers. I used hi-fi at the time, I think they were bought by drift now. And then we use like loom for the video recording to record the screens. And then Google Sheets to kind of manage the process. So, what I did is I went to a community that I was part of called the dynamite circle, and I placed an offer, and hey, I’m trying to like, validate this new product to see if anyone finds value out of it. And I sold like, maybe like 12 customers or something. And they all got value out of it. And they were like, you’re not charging enough for this. So that kind of validated it. And then I was like, okay, well, this is way too much work. Like, just the way that I built it. So, then I built it in a way that a human could kind of go behind it validate again, continue to kind of get customers and build cells, but it really wasn’t sustainable. So, then I was like, okay, now I’m gonna actually have to build this into something that can be somewhat automated. Because you have to connect like testers to the tests and kind of manage a lot of moving parts with it. So that’s kind of how I initially validated the product.
And out of interest. So, at that point, once you weren’t able to handle that yourself, you decided, oh, I need to build software. Did you hire a VA or anything like that in-between kind of to bridge the gap? Or did you immediately—
Yeah, exactly. So, I hired a VA that kind of helped me, that was a sky. Oh, my God, his name escapes me right now, Jay, that kind of helped me do the backend stuff. But it was really too much to handle on the side of the agency. So, I really kind of struggled over probably like two years to build on the side while still maintaining the agency. And if I could go back, I would have dedicated a separate team to it rather than trying to use my agency team to also manage client projects and the internal thing. That was a really big learning for me.
That’s interesting. A lot of people say that. And so how, how did you now end up developing your first version of your SaaS?
Yeah, so initially, I hired a college kid to build it out. And I was like, look, I just need to like, kind of really prove the market here and prove the product. So, I hired a kid I was like, like, if it’s like total crap, like, who cares? We could rebuild it later. But like, about two weeks, I actually paid for sponsorship at a conference and two weeks before the developer, he had a mass shooting in his town that he where he was at, and he just had like a mental breakdown, and like super weird. So, like two weeks before logs, I was like, left with like nothing because you can’t bring another developer in with the college kid, you know, didn’t have good documentation, or like any of that. I had like no idea what was going on. So, I went to my developer that was on my team, where we developed WordPress sites for our clients. And he’s like, hey, let’s just build this on what we know. Let’s just build it in WordPress. And we’re like, okay, so like two weeks’ time, we got like a working prototype up in time to at least make something out of sponsorship.
Wow, that is actually really fascinating. It shows that building in what you know, can actually be really, really fast, even though yeah, most people probably wouldn’t build a SaaS with WordPress, but who cares if it works, at least in the beginning? Are you still in WordPress?
Yeah, we still are, you’d be surprised that you can develop in WordPress. If you just use it as a kind of data management system. And then we build stuff off of WordPress, and then WordPress that kind of pulls in the data and stuff. So other things are kind of doing like the high-intensity kind of work, I guess.
I know that you’ve hired many more senior developers since. How did you go about finding them? Where do they work?
Yeah, so yeah, hiring a developer is hard. So, the developer that worked for me, at the agency, we worked together for like seven or eight years, so I hadn’t really had to develop it, or, you know, go out and hire developers and that college kid I was like, Oh, God, that didn’t work at all. So, I wrote, I spent time like probably an entire day writing like a really good job ad. Like really focusing on the vision, the mission, the things we were going to, like, do the culture of our company, and really the footprint that we wanted to leave like our mission statement, right? And then I went, I posted this on four different job boards, and I tried to hit up a couple of different places. So, I hit up, We Work Remotely to hit like the remote workforce. I did dynamite jobs that are in a community that I’m in that dynamite circle, the founders like built it. And I kind of thought that was like a wild card. I didn’t really think they had developers job rack and no fluff job.
So, we worked remotely. I got the most applicants from but I also got harassed to death by agencies, had a lot of low quality and trees. I mean, they were calling me on the phone. They were researching me like, it was really obnoxious. Dynamite Jobs is where we got the best results, and that was my wildcard. They were only 20% of the applicants but they were actually 70% of our shortlist. And they were actually led to the hire that we made. So super high-quality candidates and really great culture fit. JobRack, we didn’t get really many applicants. The founder was really great though, and I’ve had a couple of friends that got really good results there but I just didn’t. And then no fluff jobs I kind of was thinking all Eastern European. I can get really high-quality dope verse here when I did my research Colin seemed like the place. And I actually got one job applicant from them. And the experience was like, just awful.
So, when I got these candidates, I narrowed them down, I kind of asked questions in my job application. Like, why do you want this job? Why? Like, what do you kind of be looking for? And I kind of looked at those answers, because culture is really important to me. And developers are actually really hard on us. Because you know, there’s an abundance of jobs. So, getting them to actually put time into the application was a little bit hard. So, I had to let go of some of the stuff that works for my other roles, and kind of give a little bit for this developer role. And then I interviewed about 20 of the developers and shortlisted it to about six, which I passed over to my CFO at the time, who had a much more technical background than me.
So, then he filtered them to the top three. And then those top three were interviewed by my current WordPress developer, or the one at the time, right. And he kind of graded them. And then we had a discussion about that. And then the final step was we ran a skills test. So, I’m not a technical founder. And I really wanted to give them a tiny project inside the app. But this ended up being too hard for a small team to implement. So, I just went with the skills test, I think it was like test gorilla or something. And it was really interesting because one of the applicants did not do well on that test, the one that we ended up hiring, passed with flying colors. Not only that, but he actually wrote the customer support about a question that they asked, he’s like, you asked me this question, but in this circumstance, it would have been this answer. But in this other circumstance, it would have been this. So, I don’t want to get this question wrong. Like bla bla, bla, bla, bla, he wrote all this like stuff. So, it was really interesting. So, that was pretty much your process.
That’s awesome. That’s actually a very good process and I’m amazed by how he just came up and went with it. It is very, very good. So anyway, let’s dive into our main topic, which is UI UX testing it. The question that some people might ask themselves is, why would I even need to do UX testing? Doesn’t hiring a designer do the trick? Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be doing?
Yeah, well, we don’t know how to use your own app. Like we built it. We work on it every day, we made it. But we don’t know what it looks like to someone for the first time. You know, I build stuff before. And because I have a design background as well. And I’m like, oh, people are gonna completely understand how to use this. You don’t know. No, they don’t. They don’t. And things that I thought like, I’m not sure if they’re, like really gonna understand this, they got it like, it was like nothing. So really just watching someone else use the thing that you build, gives so many insights into how you can improve the user experience, how people are understanding it? What do they understand? Do they know how to use it? Where are they confused? You know, as a designer, we want to make things look good. And like I said, sometimes we think it’s simple, but it’s really not.
Yeah, totally. And so, I have a SaaS app, how would I go about testing that? What should I do? How should they pick what to test? Or how to set up a test like that? What should my goal be really?
So, you got to think about your business and what your problems are, like, what’s kind of popping up for you? You can really run a test to find out anything, the only real limit is your imagination. You can test prototypes, you can test a full website, you can test applications. So, are there people that are in your support asking the same question over and over again? Is analytics telling you people are dropping off at a specific step in the process? Do you know something is confusing, but you don’t know how to fix it? Is your bounce rate super high? Are you having trouble getting your value proposition, correct? Or people like on like confused about what it is that you do. Or a trial user is not converting to paid customers as well as you want them to. Are they not understanding how to use a new feature that you just launched or what have you? So, you just kind of have to think about the problems that you’re having. You can also run just like a general test just to be like, well, I don’t know what’s wrong, I want to like find stuff. You can do that as well. But I like to really kind of target really specific questions that people are having and write a test in a way so I can find that answer and solve that problem.
And how would I structure that concrete test? I know I need people to look at it. But what do I write them specifically? Or who should I choose?
Yeah, so we noticed that a lot of people have struggle writing tests. So, we actually built that service into our product. So, we can like write the test. But it’s actually, once you know how to do it, it’s pretty simple. It’s just like, what are the steps somebody has to go through to do that, right? They have to go to the website, they’re going to maybe look at something, then they’re going to sign up, what are they going to do after they sign up? What do you want them to do? Do you want them to follow the tutorial? Or do you want them to like, try to use a specific feature? So, it’s like, okay, you landed on this website? What is it? What do you think you can do here? Okay, now, I want you to sign up for a trial. Okay? Like, go through the onboarding process until you do X and then move on to the next task. So, you’re literally just kind of guiding them on what you want them to do. And you can ask specific questions like, can you figure out how to schedule a meeting? Like, or something like this? Or you can be like, well, what’s the first thing you want to do? And then see, like, where they go? What do they want to do? So, you can leave it to answer like a specific question, I can see like, well, what questions do people have? Like when they go to our dashboard? Like, what is the first thing that they want to do?
Because you probably also don’t want to give people too many hits, right? Because if somebody just signs up, comes into your application for the very first time, and you tell them it now, go there, do this that might already give something away that some people are missing, right? Yeah, that’s probably very tricky.
You don’t want to lead them. A lot of times, we’ll change the language that we use. So, if you have something called like, I don’t know, like schedule will be like, can you find out how to make an appointment? Like we won’t use the word schedule, right? Do they know to go to the schedule and things like that? So, but sometimes you do want to leave them to do something because you want to answer a specific question. In that case, it’s okay. Right. But you don’t want to, like give them like the exact terminology to look for like, oh, okay, now go to the menu and find like, schedule, then click the like, you don’t want to, like writing these kinds of instructions?
Yeah, no, absolutely. And so, I assume that these will be recorded in video, is that the given format?
Yeah. So, user testing is pretty much-having somebody in your target audience, go to your website, App Store, whatever, while recording their screen, and speaking their thoughts out loud. So, they’re like, when they go to the home base, they’re like, oh, like, I think this is a scheduling app, you know, or whatever. Or I’m confused about what this is. So, they’re speaking their thoughts out loud, so you can understand what they understand about it. And when you watch the video, it’s like literally like being inside their head and understanding exactly what they’re experiencing, where they’re frustrated, where they’re confused, where they’re like, oh, wow, this is cool. Because it’s also cool to know, like, where people are delighted and excited or having fun in your application. But it’s also really hard when they’re like rage clicking, and you can hear them. They’re like, oh, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to mess up the recording. But they’re like in their house. And they’re like, oh, well, maybe I should make that clickable.
That’s where those aha moments come from. Nice. So, who should I invite for user testing and how many people are enough to kind of get like, statistically somewhat significant data out of it?
Yeah, so we have a tester poll that we’re growing every month and we source from so we find users and your target audience. So, we get as close to it as possible that we can. And really, you just need five users. This is qualitative data, right? So, they’re kind of telling you the why behind stuff, and it doesn’t really need to be quantified. But you can take that data and then go get that data from like, hot jar or your analytics, you can go back and okay, here’s where the problem is, let me go to my analytics and see like what that’s happening in mass. You can do 20 users to get more statistical significance. But really, it’s much better to do five users and test four times than it is to do one test with 20 users. And the reason for that is, after five users, you get about 85% of the issues. And after that, it’s like the Law of Diminishing Returns, they’re literally just going to be saying the same thing over and over again. And to continue to watch those videos. It’s like kind of exhausting to watch like them doing the same thing like 20 times you’re like, okay, five is enough like, let’s go fix those problems. And let’s just run another test and see if that fixes that or not.
So again, I know I’ve screwed up, stop telling me.
It’s like Groundhog Day.
And so do you know what are the most common UX mistakes that SaaS founders make in their app, or also on their landing pages?
On the landing pages, it’s a lot about the product positioning and value proposition. And that’s really the hardest thing to get right. Like, we’re still learning how to do that Conversion Crimes, like how do people describe the app? How can you communicate with them? Really, the messaging is one of the hardest parts to get right. And that’s literally one of the hardest things to purchase things to do, right? So that’s the number one kind of mistake they’re doing on their landing pages. I’m not answering questions correctly and so forth.
For inside the app, it’s really the onboarding. When people are coming into your app for the first time, do they know what to do? Are they led to do the right things? And also, it’s like for adoption, it’s what is the most you want to show the user value as fast as possible– So, like with Facebook, it was like, they found that when you add five friends, you’re more likely to stay on or seven, or like whatever it was, right? So, it’s like they make the first thing you do when you onboard is like add friends, you know, to be sticky. So, it’s about finding, like, what is that sticky part of your app to get people to get value as fast as possible and leaving them there? That is a hard thing.
That is a hard thing. Yeah, absolutely. I guess the main challenge of any pre-product-market fit SaaS founder, I guess. Well, speaking of very pre-product-market fit, should I already test prototypes, maybe even wireframes?
Absolutely, you can test anything with a link. So, what’s great about that is you can test some image, you can test a wireframe, you can see, it’s not going to be the same as testing an app or a website or something like that. But you can see like, what people understand are they like, oh, I think it would be over here, I would click here, you know, to find the answer to that you can really start to understand in the prototype and make really rapid changes with that, right? Because once you go to development, it’s like 10X, the time to get anything done, which I’m also coming to learn. You know, and it costs more. So, in a prototype, it’s like, well, all you have to do is move the box like and it’s done. And then I can like, go test that again. Whereas once it’s in development, it’s really not that easy. So, yeah, I’m a real big proponent of continuing to test at all stages of the process, because it just saves money and time overall.
Yeah, that’s very true. It’s the thing that we keep telling everybody is that once you pour something into code, it’s made for automation for a scale. That’s why it’s so expensive, whenever you automate something, you build a machine that automates things. That is simply very expensive to change. And it’s much easier to test anything outside of that. Well, not always, of course, and especially when you have a large application where, you know, you can just release something in and see how users adopted or not, or whether support has to, you know, work long hours today. But generally, it really saves a lot of money.
Yeah, you can’t do stuff like analytics on prototypes and things. So just like watching people use it, it’s just you can just make really simple changes.
Totally. And do you use Conversion Crimes on Conversion Crimes?
Yes, we have. Actually, I’ve had to use a third-party service because we’re gonna go over testers like know us. What the times were like there. Yeah, like a couple of months ago, we ran well, we’re like, yeah, just like go through a test and tell us everything you hate about our app. They just went through the tests. And they’re like, okay, this is annoying. Like, oh, like, okay, so we actually have a release coming out, probably this month at the end of this month to kind of fix a lot of those issues.
I think you changed your site since we last spoke. Is that right?
I’m always listening. And I’m always changing. It’s really about the iterative process. You know, I read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and he talks about, like, if you just get 1% better every day, that’s 37 acts by the end of the day. So really, that kind of ties into what Conversion Crimes is. It’s like just continue to test, continue to like get information, continue to learn, and just iterate. You’re just iterating yourself to success. So, I already have a new headline I want to change it to and when people ask questions where they’re like, oh, confused about this, go ahead and change it, and just continue to make it better. So, we live by that philosophy.
I think that’s a very, very good and effective mindset and to speak a bit more about Conversion Crimes itself. How exactly do you streamline this entire process? How do you help founders?
Yeah, so this tool is well known, like user testing in the enterprise. I guess the enterprise that I want to say community businesses, you know, whatever, I can think of the word right now. But with enterprise, they use this tool a lot. And they have entire teams dedicated to user experience, an increase in conversions, and so forth. And so, a lot of their solutions are about like, you know, getting multiple people on something. And so, to get the data from that, you have to export to Excel and organize all the stuff. So, we’re just making it a really good user experience, and simplifying it down until what’s like, where does most of the value in this? And how can we make that as fast as possible and as cheap as possible for small businesses? So literally, when we use user testing, it took like two days to like, organize and analyze the results.
And with ours, it takes about 25% more time than the length of the videos. So, the videos are like 15 minutes, it takes about 17 minutes to kind of get through. And then our platform automatically takes the tester inputs in your inputs and correlates it into an automatic report that gives you the information that you need. So, we just made it super-fast, simple to use. And then the other thing we do is that, like I mentioned kind of earlier is that a lot of people their barrier to getting started is whoa, I don’t know how to write a test, you know, so like, fine, we’ll write the test for you. And actually, it’s like the same price right now who write the test or not, at least for our biggest tasks is where most of the tests end up. And then the other thing they have is like, well, I don’t have the time, or I don’t know how to pull insights from this, what’s really, it’s like, if you’re kind of like a little bit savvy, and you watch someone do something, you know exactly what to do. So, we’ll actually watch the videos for you to make a test summary. And then our experts will be like, hey, we found these problems. And here’s how we suggest fixing them. And so, they literally give like a to-do list that you can implement or developer can implement. So, that’s how we do it.
That’s cool. So, it’s as turnkey as you’d like it to have you come with a problem and you could even just perceive it to do a list from you. That’s super cool. So, where can I find more about you about Conversion Crimes, where can I sign up?
So, yeah, you can go to conversioncrimes.com or conversioncrimes.com/product stories for a little special, a little landing page for you guys. To learn more about me. I’m on Twitter and Instagram is Quinn Zeda. Q-U-I-N-N- Z-E-D-A. And eventually, I’m gonna write a blog series, a founder series where I’m talking about this startup journey. Because it’s been like, I’ve learned so much to last since we launched like, it’s insane. I have so much like I need to get out. So, I’m gonna be starting that up soon.
I’m definitely gonna subscribe to that. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure.
Thank you for having me. It’s been great.