Important! Website Usability Checks
Given user-experience is a top priority for consumers and search engines, it should be a top priority for business owners and web designers as well.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to perform usability checks on your website, during the build process, prior to launch and from time to time after that.
We’re not just talking about checking your website after every little design or upgrade; we recommend you perform usability checks periodically.
You can and should use web usability tools to speed up the process, but you should also consider that these tools will miss things from a user performance point-of- view.
You can of course refer to web analytics data for page insights, but because of the limitations of analytics, there is still a lot of guess work involved when identifying usability problems.
The goal of a usability test is:
a) To determine the design of the website works
b) To determine that the web design is user friendly; easy to navigate and well signposted
c) How people use the website (user-behaviour, eye movement, mouse movements, exploration etc.
With this in mind, we recommend you carry out a full scale usability audit every quarter following three usability tests:
1. Lab testing
You don’t have to call it lab testing, but we do. When a website is in the design process, we sit down with our testing personnel and simply use the website to gather opinions. Lab testing is a simple solution, but the best way to assess a website for usability.
2. Remote testing
Once you have made the necessary tweaks discovered during lab testing, your website is ready to be tested by a live audience, preferably your target audience.
How you set the test is of your choosing, providing you cover all the touch points. You may want to ask individuals to perform specific tasks using a variety of devices or you may want groups of people testing the same actions on different devices.
It is important to establish a clear pattern of testing and determine the criteria for recording the results of each task.
3. Moderated testing
The final test to perform involves narrowing down the tests criteria to check the fixes on all the problems discovered in remote testing – and possibly any you want to double check from lab testing.
The best way to do this is for the moderator to ask questions to the tester and get them to perform specific tasks. The test candidate should be new to the website so they are using it for the first time.
When performing a thorough usability test, we recommend you use specialist software to record the results, particularly to measure how users interact and respond to the website.
The main priority of modern websites is usability over aesthetics and whilst looks are important for earning trust, if end-users can’t find what they are looking for on your site, they will go to your competitors. So create a clear purchasing path, and make sure all the bells are ringing along the way.