Too close for comfort: Why fresh eyes pick up new details

You know the structure of your site, which allows you to navigate with ease. But without that background knowledge, the visitor is lost.
Ever proofread an email three times only to spot a typo after hitting send? You’re not alone. When we get too close to our work, we miss important details. And it’s those details that can…

Ever proofread an email three times only to spot a typo after hitting send? You’re not alone. When we get too close to our work, we miss important details. And it’s those details that can make or break our copy or design.

That’s why you need a fresh pair of eyes to check for mistakes, poor design decisions, and other undesirable features before your website, social ad campaign, app, or other digital product goes live.

Let’s explore this phenomenon in more detail before discussing how you can test your design (and get real human insights in less than 48 hours).

What happens when I get too close to my work?

Human brains don’t function like computers. Computers can recognize mistakes instantly, yet our brains draw on expectations and past experiences to fill in the details. This allows us to pull meaning from what we see faster – all while preserving precious brainpower.

Here’s how this looks in practice. Let’s say you’ve built a home page for a website. You’re scanning over the headlines and sub-headings, the body text, and the calls to action. Even if you intend to spot mistakes and ambiguities, your brain is focused on the meaning you are trying to convey, not how you are conveying it. Because you already understand what you’re attempting to communicate, your brain takes shortcuts. It skips over typos because they don’t affect its ability to understand the message. It sees right through poor word choices or confusing navigation tabs.

Psychologists call this generalization, and it’s tough to overcome. When you triple-check your site before go-live, there’s a very real battle between your eyes and your brain. What you see on the screen is competing head-to-head with the idea of what you’ve created in your mind. Usually, your brain wins out, and mistakes remain in your finished product.

What happens when other people look at my work?

When a user lands on your website for the first time, they don’t have any preconceived notions or expectations. Their brains have to work to build meaning from the ground up using nothing but what’s in front of them. Therefore, they pay closer attention. Their brains aren’t taking as many shortcuts, which means they are more likely to spot mistakes.

What’s more, because they are engaging with your site at face value, points of friction may arise. For example, a navigation feature that feels straightforward to you might be a source of frustration for a visitor. You know the structure of your site, which allows you to navigate with ease. But without that background knowledge, the visitor is lost.

How do I test my design?

User testing for web design gives you access to fresh pairs of eyes ready to engage with your website. Users view and navigate your website before sharing feedback and answering questions. With EasyUserTest, you can set up a test and secure your insights in three easy steps:

  1. Upload a URL (or screenshot).
  2. Select a panel to assess your design.
  3. Get real human insights in 12 to 48 hours.

Armed with your results, you can tweak and edit your design to fill gaps, fix errors, and improve the user experience.

User testing for design goes far beyond detecting typos. The process uncovers misunderstandings, messages that don’t resonate, confusing text or imagery, and other critical design faux pas. It’s a crucial stage for every leading designers’ methodology – now, it’s time to make it a part of yours.

Test my design

Get real eyes on your design and identify critical usability issues you missed. Create an account with EasyUserTest, set up your test, and secure your results in less than 48 hours.

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