It is a common occurrence when you chance upon highly informational websites which offer great insights about the business and its product but is difficult to navigate. The site was definitely built keeping just the business in mind without giving much thought about the user experience.
As a result, the rich mine of information offered by it is unable to get any real-time engagement by the audience. The lack of attention to various functional aspects like speed and flow has completely robbed the user experience. Thus it is vital to go through various types of usability testing for your website before you launch it. Many known brands have admitted to the fact that website usability testing has taken their brand to the next level. Jeff Bezos has stated that Amazon had invested 100 times more in usability testing than even marketing during the first year of the launch of the website. Bezos owes the huge success of Amazon to the same.
Impact of Best Website Usability Testing on your Business
- Accessibility: Great web accessibility allows people with a wide range of abilities to navigate and interact with your website with ease. It has emerged as a picked feature for the businesses to target underserved yet effective audiences. In addition to the basic features like screen readers, voice-recognition, user-made content, etc. accessibility has also come to include best practices in compliance.
- Customer Experience: It is a hard fact that customer experience does not exist without great usability. It helps your business to be able to understand the needs of the customer at depth and also give shape to various strategies for achieving the same. There are many types of usability testing and it is imperative that all these are scaled for the product or service which is supported by it.
- Brand Positioning: Poor quality of usability can cause irreparable damage to a website as it is one of the primary elements to gain the trust of your customers. The impact can have far-reaching consequences even for the bottom-line of the business. All this can be handled by ensuring highly optimized user experience which can promote the overall perception of the brand.
- Productivity: Systems which are easy to use and can be updated using simple methods are considered as a valuable business asset. It has been proved by many studies that the employees score better on the job satisfaction aspect if they engage with a usable interface. This enables them to complete their tasks before time. Hence the overall productivity of the business is improved.
- Conversions: It has been seen that businesses which ensure both contextual and visual cues to the customers at their fingertips experience much higher rates of conversions. Simple Call To Action in emails or website can enhance the clicks by 371% and increase your sales by 1471% which is nothing but an exponential engagement.
Effective Website Usability Guidelines
- Listen Carefully: The best website usability test results will involve not to help the customers understand your product or service during the testing phase but let them go through it and you listen to their review during the process. This will help you identify the blind spots which need to be fixed or eliminated.
- Test-Tube Sessions: Best website usability testing is also extended to the non-development staff which is picked from a broad consideration spectrum i.e. the people who have never visited the website to the ones which are the frequent power users. Such test-tube testing which is performed on the internal staff helps you pinpoint all the issues regarding the workflow and any kind of confusions along the process.
- Elimination of Biases: In usability testing, it is important that you proceed without any kind of preconceived notions in your mind. So, never tell the users in a test the right way to use the product and observe as they walk through your website. Remember that the user’s way is the ‘right way’ and it only takes a maximum of 3 users to enumerate 75% of all your problems. It is the gap between the most optimal way to use the product and the way users have used it in the test which will give you immense learning.
- Create Real-Time Conditions: You should be able to identify a maximum number of real-world issues which your website will face going forward and simulating them all in the test might not be possible. So, it is important that you incorporate as many as possible to see if the needs of the users are actually met and any kind of pain which they will experience on the way.
- Real User Testing: There is no better alternative to conducting real-life testing for your website. It is highly relevant and gives you meaningful insights about your product. You may simply undertake this by observation or can also ask simple questions to random people whom you see using your product.
Checklist for Website Usability Testing
The steps outlined below should be properly adhered to while you conduct your user test to ensure accurate and dependable results.
- Prototype Development: This is the first step irrespective of the field in which you specialize. Your prototype or product can be anything ranging from a website, an app for demo purposes or even a wireframe which is interactive. Alongside your prototype, you should have clearly defined goals of testing in your mind.
- Draft the Plan of Test: This the next key step which should essentially answer two fundamental questions: What is going to be tested? and How will you measure the results? Once you have answers to the above in place you may design the test comprising of open-ended or close-ended questions. While the former is suitable when conducting exploratory research the latter is helpful in testing for a particular feature.
- Test Participants: Identification of a right set of participants for your tests are very important. This step is the lengthiest in the whole testing process as you have to thoroughly define the characteristics of your potential users. It is useful to take some professional advice as it will give you the most effective results of your testing.
- Conduct the Test: You may either conduct the test at a particular venue under a timed setting or may take up remote testing. Latter gives more authentic results but as they are unmoderated so there is a chance of some technical issues cropping up for which you need to be prepared in advance.
- Documentation: This is the most critical step and you have to take care that you do not rush through it but keep checking for errors which can make the data unreliable. Once the documentation is complete you should now frame a comprehensive report detailing all the steps of the process along with results and future recommendations.
Most Effective Types of Usability Testing
Best Website Usability Testing involves various ways of forming, negating and approving the theories which have gone in the usability of the design and will be instrumental in the transition of our design to a high-fidelity design. Some common yet most effective testing types are:
- Tree Testing: In this, the users are exposed to a site-map of a website in the shape of a tree and are supposed to navigate to a particular part of the tree for searching something. No visual elements are included. This form of testing can be formative as it can apparently suggest which part of the plan has incorrect labeling or even structuring while it can also be summative as it can suggest optimal usability with redesigning of the above.
- Open/Closed Card Sorting: In this, the test takers are supposed to sort various navigation items into proper categories which have been created by the tester. This is a direct way to ask users and it gives useful insight into the mental model of the user. This can also be conducted in real-time by asking the users to arrange the cards, sticky notes, etc. Likewise one can also conduct a closed card sorting in which the categories are already named and the tester is only supposed to name to which category each item belongs.
- Functional Salience Testing: This test is useful to find out which functions are most important which in turn will suggest what will be the best design for the content and even the User Interface. Website usability testing basically boils down to analysis, design and effective implementation. It has a huge potential to give shape to lasting consumer relationships with both potential and existing customers.