The Task-Based UX Benchmark Study

UserZoom ran a quick competitive UX benchmark study between IG and City Index, two UK-based spread betting and CFD trading companies, to see how users experienced navigational and core tasks as well as how they rate their overall experience on these websites.

  • We ran an unmoderated remote task-based benchmark study with 50 in-the-wild users on their own devices over the course of a single day
  • Participants were equally divided between the companies sites so that 25 went to and 25 went to
  • They completed several tasks while on the site: a screenshot click test, a tree test on their help menu and a task-based test, where we asked them to look for details on the platforms’ iPad trading app
  • We also measured their brand perception and how they rated their overall experience

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First impressions are lasting impressions

For starters we wanted to know the users’ first impression to both of the contenders’ sites. We showed all 50 participants images of the IG and City Index homepages and asked them to choose which site they associated with several UX attributes.


This week’s participants preferred IG homepage over City Index in almost every category, especially when it came to being seen as Organized, Trustworthy, Informational and Helpful. The City Index site, on the other hand, was associated by most with the term Welcoming.

Round 1 goes to IG!

Screenshot Click Test

To understand if visitors were able to easily find important information, we showed them each an image of the assigned contender’s homepage. Based on that image, we asked them to complete a simple task: “Where would you first click if you wanted to create an account to test the platform risk free?”.

Demo accounts are made for prospecting clients to explore the platforms risk-free with the use of virtual credits before they sign up for real and start betting real money. Both platforms offer the option to create a demo account on their homepages so visitors can try them out.

On the IG website 20% of the participants managed to succeed on this test by clicking the blue “Open Demo” button on the lower part of the page while 68% of the participants either clicked on the “Create Account” or the “Trade Now” buttons that would lead them to create a real account. The rest of the participants clicked elsewhere.

The City Index site had three options on their homepage from where participants could click on to create a demo account: a green “Demo Account” button on the first image on the featured carousel, a “Get a demo account” button on the middle of the page and a “”Demo trading account” link on the bottom menu of the site. 24% of the participants clicked on the first option, while the other two had no clicks at all. A big 60% of the participants clicked on the “Create an account” or the “Open an account” buttons that would lead them to signing up to real accounts. And the rest of the participants clicked somewhere else.

Round 2 goes to City Index!

Tree Test

Good information architecture is necessary for providing a good search experience. To evaluate the findability, labeling and organization of the contending sites’ structures we placed participants in a plausible scenario: “Let’s say you made some money spread betting and you want to transfer it from your IG / City Index user account to your credit card for you to use”.

Participants were shown the site’s help menu structure as a list of topics and asked to select the area where they think they would find information on how to transfer funds out of their account. Once finished they would mark the task as completed and if they reached the requested info the task would be rated as Success.

Both sites have dedicated links for this topic. IG hosts the “Getting Payments” page under “Payments” while City Index has one main category called “Withdrawing Funds”.

On the IG site 60% of the participants chose the correct option. Other popular options chosen were “Making Payments” (16%) and “Payments Problems” (4%) under “Payments” and “Account Queries” (8%) under “Managing your account” and “Trading Platform” under “Using our trading platform” (8%).

On the City Index site 80% of the participants chose one of the correct options while a 12% chose the “Funding your account” category.

Round 3 goes to City Index!

Online Task-Based Test

With low barriers and no middle-man, Online Trading and Spread Betting have become very popular. With online platforms and easy to access apps, now anyone can trade and bet anytime, anywhere.

We asked participants to complete a basic task a possible new client would do on either of these sites: Check out the features included on the iPad Trading App.

To evaluate the success of the task, validation through an URL was used so that only participants who reached the designated page would have the task be rated as success and then be redirected to further questions.

A Non-Success result meant that the participant decided to abandon the task.


So, how did the two challengers do?

Results revealed that slightly more participants were able to successfully complete the task on the IG site.

Most of the participants were able to find the requested page and only a few decided to abandon the task. When asked their reasons for leaving, this is what they said:

  • “I couldn’t find the iPad app page with the details. The closest thing I found was on the iTunes store, but I found it afterward.” (IG)

  • “I couldn’t figure out where it would be. The most likely spot to me (platform) was not it, and in real life unless I was already a member and had a good deal of money involved I’d just say screw it!” (City Index)


Ease of Use

After the task we asked all the users who were able to complete the task successfully to rate how easy or difficult it was to accomplish, with 1 = Very Difficult, 4 = Neutral and 7 = Very Easy. This is what they said:

Results show that participants on the City Index site found it easier to complete the task.

Round 4 goes to IG!

Problems & Frustrations

After the study, we asked all participants if they encountered any problems or frustrations and their responses are here:

This week many participants did not encounter any problems or frustrations. From those who did find problems while on the sites being “too many clicks to find information” or “unsure where to begin task” were the most mentioned.

Brand Perception

Now, let’s talk about perceptions and find out what participants were really thinking about their experience. We asked participants to rate the perception they had of the challenging brands before and after their experience on sites.

For the rating scale: 1 = Very Negative, 4 = Neutral, and 7 = Very Positive. In the pre-test survey we also included the option for participants to say they’re not familiar with the brand.

Before participants interacted with the websites, IG had a brand perception rating of 5.6 and City Index a 4.7 out of 7. IG had 36% of users saying they were not familiar with the brand while 44% of the City Index participants said they were unfamiliar with the brand.

After the participants completed the different tasks, we asked if their brand perception changed. For IG, brand perception dropped 0.4 points while the City Index brand perception increased 0.2 points.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

As the final part of the study, once the participants have interacted with the sites, we asked everyone to rate how likely it was they would recommend the brands’ sites to friends, family or colleagues.


The results show that more people would be comfortable recommending IG based on their experience with their homepage.

And the winner is…

This week both contenders performed well. IG had better results on the Screenshot click test, and Navigational Task while City Index did well on the Tree test. But participants’ perceptions had a big influence on the final decision, and with a better first impression, higher NPS and less problems and frustrations, this week’s winner is IG!