Web Usability Testing

by Steven E. Streight
Streight Site Systems
Is your website easy for your audience to use? Can your customers quickly find the information they seek? Do they enjoy using your website to accomplish various tasks?

You probably have no idea.

WEBSITE USABILITY CANNOT BE DETERMINED BY:
  • Assuming that if you can use it, everyone else probably can, too
  • Asking your designers if it’s got good usability characteristics
  • Comparing your website with other sites you like
  • Following good design principles
  • Checking to see if your staff can use it
  • Testing the links
  • Assuming that if the information is complete, needs will be easily met
  • Putting lots of interactive functions on it
  • Having users contact the webmaster about problems.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE USABILITY OF YOUR WEBSITE:
  1. List mission-critical actions you want customers to perform.
  2. List highly desired tasks customers want to accomplish online.
  3. Have four to six typical users attempt to perform the tasks.
  4. Provide no coaching or help—observe in silence.
  5. Take notes on their navigation paths, complaints and frustrations.
  6. Ask them what the website is missing, failing at and succeeding in.
  7. Ask them what they think needs to be improved, changed, added or eliminated.
  8. Ask them what their favorite websites are (to compare with yours and learn).
Find out how usable your website is, improve it according to the test results, and you’ll increase traffic, sales and customer loyalty. iBi

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