8 Reasons Web Design User Testing is a Great Investmentby David Lawrence
in Conversion Centred Web Design
In a previous article I covered a very simple approach to user testing your website. User testing a web design involves getting real users to perform a number of key tasks on your website without any knowledge of your business or website. By watching how they go about achieving these tasks a lot can be learnt about the effectiveness of your website and any potential stumbling blocks or problems you may not be aware of.
User testing is simple, it’s cheap, it’s fast and it almost always adds value to your business. However for some reason only a very small percentage of owners do any type of user testing on a web design. To give you extra motivation to start testing today I have included a list of 8 reasons website user testing will benefit your business!
Web Design Testings Tips
- Settle the argument once and for all
Remember when your website was first built and your boss insisted on coming up with the site navigation? And your IT guy was obsessed about everything except how the website would generate sales or leads. Now is the time to settle these discussions with the benefit of some external perspective.
- Low hanging fruit
In any user test there are a number of really simple web design improvements that are uncovered. Without user testing these improvements are likely to remain hidden from you and you will be paying the price!
- Can’t see the forest for the trees
You are almost certainly too close to your website (and business). No matter how big your web team is, it is highly likely that there are a number of issues (big and small) that have not been noticed by anyone in your company. You will be amazed at what members of the public can teach you about your website.
- Website visitors getting lost…
This a really big part of user testing. Most websites contain a fair bit of content and require users to make a good number of choices and decisions. What might seem to you as very sensible information architecture, may well be confusing your website visitors. Effective testing will show you any navigation or architecture issues that require your attention.
- Different strokes for different folks
There are a number of different ways that people interact with a web design. A decent user test will show you how well your website caters for different types of people.
- Where do all the users go?
You know from Google Analytics that you are getting a lot of traffic. You also know from your orders that most of them are leaving your website without spending any money. Effective website user testing will show you not just when people get into trouble on your website – it will also show you why. The little (and big) things that make your website hard for people can cost you plenty of sales and leads. User testing will help you get to the bottom of these issues.
- What’s working?
User testing is not just about finding problems. There are going to be areas of your website that are working really well. User testing should highlight these areas so you and your web design team can work out strategies for delivering more of the same.
- Which parts of your website are doing nothing at all?
User testing is also likely to uncover parts of your website that are not achieving anything for your business. They might not be causing any issues, but there is a very good chance the space they are taking could be used for something much more useful.
Trust me when I say you have to do a user test of any new web design. You really will find it an interesting and almost certainly a profitable experience! Getting started is really simple. There are a number of excellent commercial offerings which will allow you to use their database of testers and software to have a number of tests created and completed within a day or less. Google “user testing” to quickly find a number of options for different budgets and requirements.
Slightly Revised: 14/06/2012
Slightly Revised: 14/06/2012