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Experiment!: Website Conversion Rate Optimization with A/B and Multivariate Testing Paperback – 17 Aug 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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  • Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter)
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Review

From the back cover:

"Colin avoids pitching controlled experiments as a quick win. With his practical experience, he shares pros and cons, and the fact that when exposed to objective evaluations, very few ideas are as good as we initially hope."– Ron Kohavi, partner-level architect at Microsoft, previously director of data mining and personalisation at Amazon 

About the Author

Colin McFarland is a UX designer and experimenter based in the U.K. His experiments using A/B and multivariate testing have delivered millions of dollars for some of the world’s biggest brands.


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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Please note - this is a Revised Review (see my note below).

Short review:

If you're unfamiliar with this type of material then you will learn something. It's a good starting point on how to run quality, meaningful experiments on your website(s).

My recommendation: Buy it if you're new to this field. It's a useful (short) introduction. It's also useful if you need to strengthen your case for 'proper' experimentation in your team or organisation.

Longer review:

When I read the title of this book, I pre-ordered it immediately. Considering what I do (digital marketing) the book synopsis sounded great. And I've waited, what seems like, an age for the book to be published.

You can imagine my delight when the mighty Amazon informed me that the Kindle ebook was ready for download! I couldn't wait to start reading it and absorbing the content.

This didn't take long. Absorbing that is.

I think I misunderstood the aim of this book. I *thought* it was a 'How to Guide' to Website Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO).

It is. And it isn't.

It's actually MORE about how you run effective experiments including A/B and Multivariate tests. Obviously, these topics are intertwined. But the book wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

The book is short. I think it's about 157 or so pages (including introductions, index etc). You don't, therefore, get a huge amount of material. Material that is, as I see it, flimsy and less than useful. Indeed, on many of the topics covered (A/B Testing, Multivariate Testing, Google Website Optimizer and so on) I've read much more in-depth blog posts.

Now, I know the book isn't a 'How to Guide' for individual testing tools.
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Format: Paperback
Having read Colin's book, my conclusion should in no way be a surprise. This book isn't the most in-depth book on conversion optimization, and A/B and Multivariate testing, but it is one of the most effective books for you to read. Like the book itself, straight to the point and without too much of that pink fluff and silver lining, Colin's approach is head on.

Like Colin said in the book, don't test the water, just dive right in. If you can't swim in the sense that you are new to conversion rate optimization with A/B and Multivariate testing, don't worry, consider this book to be your life vest that will help you keep your head above water.

For you more experienced types... use this book as a refresher course. If you think you are going to learn more than you know now from a 168 page book.... then you are wrong, use this book as a easy reference to bring along or buy it for a stakeholder who wonders what you do all day long.

Thanks Colin!
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Format: Paperback
(CRO is Conversion Rate Optimisation/Optimiser)

Firstly I should mention a little about my background to provide context. I've been optimising websites for over 5 years and have come across many of the issues and opportunities presented in the book so I've based my review both as an optimiser myself and to give novices a view too.

From a fellow optimisers point of view, the book didn't throw up any surprises and is quite thorough despite the relative size of the book which is a surprise since it could have easily been ten times as large! I think if you're someone deeply ingrained into testing then as a previous reviewer stated I don't expect you to learn a great deal new. If you do then great however I would certainly say the target market is aimed at those that are just beginning the journey or are progressing.

There are some good references made to external sources and I would certainly recommend this book as a valuable insight for those just starting or progressing however if you haven't yet started the journey, I think you could end up getting lost in detail since some of the concepts need practical application to fully understand them.

Another key point for me was reference to behavioural and psychological studies which for me underpin many aspects of testing. I would definitely recommend reading up some of these books as well since they're lightly covered in Colin's book but are very relevant references, answering many of the 'whys' and enabling you to think more laterally.

Overall the book is a great effort and it was made easier for me being in ebook format to read on the train.

Why 4 stars?
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