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An Introduction to Preference Testing

What is Preference Testing?

Preference Testing is an easy user experience research method for determining design preference.

Preference test involves asking a research participant a question about which image they would prefer and showing them 2 images. The time it takes to choose along with the image selected is recorded for analysis.

Preference testing can be used to determine preference on visual designs, copy, logos, color pallets, wireframes, fashion designs, or whatever else you want to test! This quantitative approach to understanding your product or website provides the specific feedback you need to improve.

In addition to the quantitative nature of the preference test, they are often paired with a survey to understand why the user choose what they did. Also demographic questions can be asked to understand if different user groups have different preferences.

Is this the same as an A/B test?

In concept, an A/B test and a preference test are very similar. The difference is that A/B path testing usually refers to a test that is happening in a live website - or something that is already built. However a preference test is done before a product is released in a controlled testing environment.

Why do a preference test?

A preference test is a simple way to get feedback from real users on a part of your design. You may need feedback on colors, logos, design, layout, copy or many other facets of your user experience.

A key benefit of running a preference test is the ability to gather feedback early in your products life cycle. This early feedback that not only describes which they prefer, but why will help guide your next design iteration. By running multiple preference tests you can iteratively refine your product to be the best it can be.

Types of preference

Preference isn't always around how it looks. By stacking multiple preference test within on research test, you can ask different questions about the same design. Eg: