The Benefits of Website User TestingAuthor: Jamie | Filed under: General
It’s sometimes difficult to see an issue when you’re too close to the problem.
That’s why it’s important to get a fresh look at your site and find out what actually matters to real users. By doing this, you could improve usability, customer experience and see financial benefits.
Remote usability testing is an increasingly popular method of helping website owners make positive changes to their site.
What is usability testing?
Website usability testing captures feedback directly from the user. The tests are normally based around a set of questions and pre-designed scenarios. The tasks are given to a group of participants in order to explore their on site experience.
The aim of a usability test is to uncover any stumbling blocks and gauge the user’s experience.
For example, why do 50% of your visitors leave when they reach the payment page? What, at that stage of the experience, is going wrong?
The usability test is a crucial way to find out why and how. Why something doesn’t work and how to fix the issue.
How does usability testing work?
Finding out the ‘why’ and ‘how’ needs a structured methodology to ensure the quality of user experience is properly measured. There are a number of check points which testing should hit, including:
- Brand perception: Are the brand values communicated effectively and do they fit with on site messages?
- User satisfaction: Are users satisfied with their experience? Will they recommend the site? Will they return?
- Navigation and consistency: Do users find it easy to move around the site? Is it simple to meet the objective of their visit? Are controls and information set up to facilitate user’s movement?
- Aesthetics: Do the graphics provide relevant visual cues to aid navigation? Will the layout, controls and images enhance or inhibit user experience? Does the design help to build a connection with the user?
- Simplicity: Is the site intuitive and easy to use? Is the content presented in a straightforward manner to help meet the user’s objectives?
Who tests my site?
There are plenty of companies to choose from when it comes to remote usability testing. Apart from costs, reporting style and timings, you need to investigate who will be used to test your site? You should be able to work with the usability consultant to determine a participant profile.
The sample group should be relevant to your industry but selected across geographies and demographics to ensure a broad representation.
The Importance of Web Site Usability Testing
Web usability testing provides detailed, qualitative feedback to help you improve your user’s experience and importantly, ROI.
Have you ever visited a site with the intent to buy a product? You arrive at the site, but the graphics are distracting; the navigation is difficult to work; you click ‘back’, but you’re taken to a different page…?
In all, the website got in the way of your intent to buy.
It’s likely that you’ll never go back and probable that you’ll tell your friends about your poor experience.
One of the main aims of usability testing is improving conversion rates. It’s more cost effective to improve user experience and convert existing users than it is to invest in advertising to encourage new visitors.
If you can identify where problems lie, then you can more effectively respond to your customers needs, improve their online experience, and impact your bottom line.
In summary, website usability testing is a cost effective way to get into the mindset of your users. It provides you with real time feedback, lets you understand user movement and outlines any barriers to purchase decisions.
Websites are an integral part of any business. With customer needs constantly changing, it is essential that you provide an environment conducive to creating a satisfied, loyal client base.
What do you think about usability testing? Do you have any experiences you’d like to share?
Image Credit: Rajsun22