Do it Yourself Usability Test on Your Website

How to conduct a usability test on your website

Starting a business is no easy feat but can be done easily online by taking the necessary steps through sound planning. While finding the right hosting provider with scalable hosting options is the first step, the real work begins with designing your website with your users in mind.

When building your website you want to keep your brand’s awareness in mind and the superiority of user experience (UX) as a priority. The usability of your website is one of your top priorities because you want to have little to zero bounce rate with visitors and build trust in your brand. Your website is an extension of your brand and is the storefront for your business. How well users are able to navigate the site with ease and find pertinent information is crucial.

You want to build a website with a responsive theme that is both desktop and mobile friendly. The design should reflect usability over aesthetics and managing both is perfection. What’s more, performing a usability test and making improvements can positively effect SEO.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is definitely something you’ve heard of as a potential or existing website owner. In order for your website to be indexed and available within the search engine results your SEO game has to be on point. One of the ways to ensure great SEO ranking is to have a fast loading website. Websites that load within 3 seconds or less rank high. It also enhances user experience.

Designing a website with user experience in mind ensures that you position yourself to outshine your competitors, keep the faith and build trust with new and existing customers and boosts your SEO standing.

How do you ensure that your website has a high usability test score? Let’s find out.

The Importance of UX and performing usability tests

Usability Testing is the process of evaluating a product. In this case, the product is a website. By testing a website’s functionality or ease of use on users you can gain a higher quality of UX as well as enhance the user experience for your website.

User experience is tantamount to your website’s success. One thing every website owner wants is high traffic flowing into their site on a daily basis.

However, beyond that, you want that traffic to engage with your content, view your products, sign-up for your mailing lists, give you high conversion rates and become loyal customers.

The best way to secure this is by setting and keeping the user experience at a high bar.

As we stated earlier, you don’t want to have a high bounce rate. This can actually hurt your customer retention rate and conversion rates. Creating a complicated website that users simply can’t understand can be a factor.

In addition, usability testing also provides a means of gathering marketing data on users. You can use testing to gather information on how users engage with content, products and services to better tailor and improve your copy.

Usability testing is beneficial when launched on the right participants by drawing them in via a precise method.

A myriad of UX usability testing procedures is available for your use. We’ve taken the liberty of curating 5 types of usability tests so that you can perform them to improve your website’s user experience.

Usability Test Categories

There are 3 main categories of usability testing:

  1. Explorative: Employed early in product development (in this case a website) to assess the efficacy and usability of an initial design or prototype, as well as users’ thought processes and conceptual understanding of the interface.
  2. Assessment: Employed halfway during the product development (the website) or as a general usability test for technology evaluation. Used to evaluate real-time trials of the technology to ascertain user satisfaction, effectiveness, and overall usability.
  3. Comparative: Compares two or more technology products or designs (in the case of testing website themes) and distinguishes the strengths and weaknesses of each.

 5 Types of Usability Tests

The following is a brief rundown of various types of usability tests you can employ to better understand how your website ranks in user experience.

1. Hallway Testing

This method is effective for testing a new website for the first time during the development stage. By means of random everyday people to test the website instead of trained people or staff.

2. Remote Usability Testing

This involves testing the usability of a website by employing people who are located in various countries and time zones. Occasionally remote testing is performed via video conferencing, while other times the user works distinctly from the evaluator. Currently, there are a number of software options available at a rather low cost that allow remote usability testing by observers who are not usability experts.

So how does this work? Well, a software automatically records the click locations on a given page and streams of the users. Log and fix all critical occurrence found during the usability test. Not to mention, the prized user feedback submitted at the end. Remote usability testing permits for the length of time it takes each tester to complete various tasks to be logged. It’s a handy method of testing because the tests are carried out within the normal environment of the user instead of a controlled lab.

3. Expert usability Test Review

An expert in the industry is hired to evaluate the usability of the website. Every so often the expert is invited to a testing facility to test the site. Alternatively, the tests are conducted remotely and automated results are sent back for review. Automated expert tests are not as detailed as other types of usability tests. What’s interesting here is the advantage that they can be completed quickly.

4. Controlled Experiments

A tactic that is comparable to scientific experiments characteristically involving a comparison of two products or designs in case of a website, with careful statistical balancing in a laboratory. This may be the hardest method to do “in the real world” setting. However, due to its scientific nature, it yields accurate results that can be published. A/B Testing is one such example. Giving users two design options to test to see which one ranks higher on usability.

5. Automated Usability Evaluation

The most superior technique in usability testing. There are numerous academic papers and prototypes on this subject. These try  to automate website usability testing, all with various degrees of success. By using the USEFul System as described here.

What to do after completing your website’s Usability Test

Subsequent to receiving the results and data of your website usability tests, the first thing you should do is compile and organize the information. Take note of any problems that testers had in common. Examine the amount of time it took them or their test subjects to complete various tasks. Then, think about what you can change so that users are able to complete these tasks faster.

Likewise, note that testers typically provide feedback. Make any adjustments you can to improve the usability of your site as soon as possible. As with any method of website testing, usability testing is a continuing process. So be sure to run usability tests once more after you’ve made changes. This not only guarantees that the changes you made were suitable but will furthermore help you discover new usability difficulties.