Why You Need Web Usability Testing:
- Every $1 invested in improving your website's usability returns $10 or more (according to IBM)
- The average business metrics improvement after usability redesign is 83% (Jakob Nielsen, 2008)
- Your competition is only one click away
What makes a website "usable?"
The simple answer – borrowing from Steve Krug's book of the same title – is Don't Make Me Think! That means your website must:
- Deliver a convincing message – here is what we offer and how it benefits you – at a glance.
- Make it easy for visitors to find what they want.
- Compel the visitor to take the next step (buy your product, donate to your organization, or contact you for more information).
It's difficult for site owners to view their website as a visitor will. Site owners are already convinced their product, service or charity is great, and wrongly assume that the visitor has the same level of interest. What is obvious to you as an expert in your organization is not likely to be obvious to the average visitor. True, visitors presumably have some interest if they come to your site, but many are impatient, and you only have 10-30 seconds to convince them to explore your site. And if the site is not easy to explore, visitors will click the back button and head to your competitor's site.
How we test a website
The testing varies according to the client's budget, and the time frame. Testing should begin while you're working on the site, but we can test existing web sites and recommend effective changes. Website usability testing includes:
- "Geek testing" – the technical aspects such as page load speed, broken links, spell checking, proper meta tag use, and does it work from all major browsers and common screen resolutions. We normally do this part ourselves because we are experienced geeks.
- "User testing" – where we ideally get some "average" web users to review your site. We develop a list of the most important things people need to do with your site, and then create some scenarios for people to follow to determine whether or not they can perform the key tasks quickly and easily. These average users are given a stipend for their time. We can do "user testing" ourselves to save money, but it's generally more valuable if this testing is done using average users than web geeks.
Clients are provided with a detailed report on the tests; in some cases, we may even provide the client with a video of a user's site experiences and comments.