Usability testing to enhance Noon's shopping experience in the Middle East

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How usability testing improved the shopping experience for Noon, the Middle East’s favourite marketplace.

How we got the Middle East’s favorite shopping app to deliver the goods

The way we shop online is evolving all the time. With one click of a button, you have a whole world of consumables at your fingertips, and often if shoppers know what they want and where from - they can make purchases in under thirty seconds.

One of the most popular shopping sites across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is Noon, the UAE’s very own homegrown marketplace for consumer goods. The company offers a dazzling array of products from high-end beauty through to luxury tech.  

Here’s the story of how we undertook usability testing for Noon so it could improve its already impressive services and reach across the Middle East. We were so glad to work in partnership with them - after all, we’re the local UX specialists who’ve helped countless businesses across the region.

What they needed

Noon wanted a thorough deep-dive into the usability of their service. From this, we could identify some best practices to help the company move forward. Implementing these changes would make their customer’s experiences on the site and app seamless.

As a brand, Noon were looking to conduct some in-depth, super focussed usability tests to improve the experience using the mobile app and desktop site – from product search right through to using coupon offers and checking-out.

Who wouldn’t love being asked to shop to their heart’s content for work? We were really happy to be asked to step on board and share our knowledge and experience of how to create a seamless, localized experience for shoppers across the UAE.

What we delivered

This project was all about ensuring a smooth experience for customers using the app and the desktop site when they want to shop. So, we built a tailored approach led by the main aims Noon had. These aims and our findings formed the basis of a detailed report.

1. Understanding how their customers search for items and make purchases

We conducted tests with Noon customers across the UAE. The group consisted of ten users, five male, and five female – and because we have a brilliantly diverse base of testers across the region to choose from, we were able to select the core demographic that fitted Noon’s target market perfectly.

Additionally, it was important that some of the testers had no prior experience with the Noon app –  though they were familiar with the desktop site. Not a problem for us, we found the perfect candidates to step up to the search bar!

During our tailored user tests, the customers shared their screens with us and walked us through how they shopped when they used Noon, so we could see the methods they used to search for and buy products online.

We concentrated primarily on the most popular categories on the site like beauty, fashion, and technology and the core focus was on the following points:

  • The price and value of items
  • The trust and credibility of sellers and resellers in the eyes of the shopper
  • How sellers tagged their products and customer ratings
  • The coupons and offers on site
  • Product categories
  • The ‘findability’ of products in their categories

The usability test was structured around 5 different tasks, which included the specific insights that are listed below:

  • Task 1: Insights into shopping behaviour.
  • Task 2: Searching for a specific beauty item with deals.
  • Task 3: Exploring how shoppers would shop for a laptop using filters.
  • Task 4: Discovering how shoppers would purchase a fashion item and use a Buy One Get One free offer.
  • Task 5: Examining their add to cart and checkout processes.

2. Looking for potential pain points

As well as understanding how the usability tester group shopped, it was also a key priority to discover any pain points there were in the searching and purchasing process.

One of the positive points was that users found the search functions on the website and app easy to use. They produced the right results, and finding goods was hassle-free. There were some small issues that arose when users were trying to purchase using coupon codes, which weren’t always added to the cart automatically and had to be put in manually when making a purchase. This slightly slowed down the purchasing process.

One of the key takeaways from the process was that trust and credibility were key for the users, who remarked that they would prefer to shop from Noon’s marketplace rather than buy from resellers on the site. This often came down to the fact that there could be big differences in pricing, and the worry that low prices on top brands might mean the goods could possibly be counterfeit.

"The detailed, customer-focused approach we took will enable Noon to make positive, user-friendly changes"

Other core points from the usability testing found that most would use the homepage for finding deals but felt that often there was too much choice on there, which could become overwhelming.

Sometimes when looking for specific products to buy, the search function didn’t always offer contextually relevant results. This potentially meant that the user didn’t really save time when using it.

Our findings and the detailed report we produced after our testing sessions meant that the fantastic folks at Noon have the insights they need to make a fully user-friendly shopping experience, whether on the app or on the desktop site. Shopping with them is going to be even more pleasurable!

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