Positive customer experience on a website is one of the major metrics that help reduce the bounce rate and increase the number of promising leads for the company. Usability testing is a method of evaluating the user experience of a website using a representative group of website users. The information collected helps the site developers uncover problems with the site’s UX and fix them as soon as possible. Here is how to test the usability of a website.
Know the Metrics You Would Like to Test
There are several issues that you can check with usability testing. However, you need to target your research to specific metrics that define purposes of website usability testing. Some of the most common metrics the website developers check include the effectiveness of the site, its efficiency and user satisfaction. These three can be broken down to actual questions and tasks that you can ask the test groups.
Create Tasks to Be Completed
The tasks against which you test the user experience should be those that the user does to complete a certain goal. An example includes making a purchase or navigating the website.
Determine the Threshold for Success
Ensure that you have a criterion to determine whether the tasks you picked in the step above are intuitive enough. This helps you get accurate answers that pinpoint the area with a problem. You can switch tasks to those with a greater impact on participants.
Create a Team and Delegate Roles
In a usability study, a moderator and recorder or note taker are required. The moderator should be a person who can stay neutral and make the participants of the study comfortable. The note-taker should be the most attentive person so that he or she can extract all the information that comes out of the participants’ mouths. Accurate information is required to get quality insight out of the study.
The right user testing participants for your website are those that resemble the actual users on the ground. Otherwise, the information you get may be different from the ground. Start by creating a detailed and specific persona of your clientele and then recruit such members into the study group. Avoid using employees or people close to you as the relationship may bring about bias when giving feedback.
Conduct Your Study
In the actual study, ask the participants to complete one task after the other. Avoid giving them any guidance on how to complete the task. Note how long it takes to complete the task and the problems they find on the way. You may also ask them to think out loud so that you are able to know what is going on in their minds.
Ask for feedback after each task. What was the hardest part of the task? What could be changed to make completing the task easier? Can they recommend the same to friends and family?
Analyse and Reports the Findings
You will collect tons of information from the study. Go through the information in search of the patterns, problems and suggested solutions. Take note of the user’s performance and their feelings. Some users may report good site performance but may not like the task at all.
After you have extracted insights from your study, make a report that explains the problems found and possible ways to deal with these issues to improve the usability of the website. You can discuss the report with the website developers on how to work around the issues. If the report is not satisfactory, you may consider another round of study.
Usability tests help bring the much-need third opinions to help improve your site’s user experience. The key to a successful test is the right users testing recruitment and asking the right questions at the study. You should also extract the salient points for action to be taken.