A website that isn’t usable is just a waste. For high performance, usability of the website plays a pivotal role. For new web designers, web developers, or even the website owners, it’s not easy to check whether a website stands good in terms of usability or not. It’s the job of experts, who know how to test the areas affecting usability and what path to follow for usability testing.
In this piece of writing, there will be in depth discussion on the things to be considered for usability testing, how to move for that, and what experts say about that. If you are serious to gain knowledge about usability testing, then read this post with care.
Usability Testing: What Areas To Consider?
The first part covers the areas to be considered for usability testing. It’s further divided into 4 sections:
- Website Accessibility
- Business Identity
- Website Navigation
- Website Content
Now, these 4 sections will be discussed in detail.
I. Website Accessibility
This section includes all the things that could affect the website accessibility by the site visitors. If these things neglected, the usability of a website becomes questionable.
The Load Time: Opt For Reasonable One
With the popularity of broadband internet connections, visitors expect websites to load quickly. They don’t want to wait for longer just to see what’s there on the website. 100KB is acceptable while 60KB is better one.
Text And Background: Make The Right Contrast
If you use all light colors in contrast on background and text, it may make your website elegant, but a burden on visitors’ eyes just to read your website text. Black text on white background is the most acceptable one, though old-fashioned.
Font Size And Spacing: Go For Legibility
People say different things on font sizes to be used on websites, but the most important thing is the readability by the end users. If the font sizes as well as the spacing used in the website content don’t support visitors’ easy readability, more are the chances of high site abandonment rate. Give more white space at the website to avoid making that a mess for the visitors.
Flash And Add-Ons: Use Cautiously
Flash may give your website a stunning look, but it increases the load time, which is disturbing for the site visitors. New technology is good to be used at a website, but limit that to the point when it’s needed the most. Standard HTML and CSS works well to appeal to the search engines.
Website Images: Alt Tags
Alt Tags aren’t just necessary for search engines to understand your website images, but also for the sight-impaired visitors. Don’t ignore this for the imagery used for the menu items.
404 Page: Customize That
Having a simple 404 page may help losing the site visitors. Customize that to guide your site visitors where to go.
II. Website Identity
Anyone coming to your website for the very first time might ask about you and your business identity. There should be answers as well as questions ready for such visitors. The answers of visitors’ initial queries lie in the lines below.
Company Logo: Requires Prominent Placing
A logo is identity of a business, so should be placed prominently at the website. The best place is upper left of a visitor’s screen.
Company Purpose: Use Taglines
While putting your company purpose in taglines, avoid jargons, and express your thing in just few words. It would not only appeal to the end users, but also good for search engine optimization. Make it sure that you are delivering your purpose clearly and there is no ambiguity.
Home Page: Deliver Idea In 5 Seconds’ Read
Website visitors don’t want to spend more time on home page just to get an idea what the business is all about. You have just 5 seconds to impress the visitors and make them browse other pages of your website.
Company Information: Make The Access Clear
Your prospects may want to know more about you. Focus the About Us page and don’t make that boring. Deliver the company information in a clear manner, avoiding any confusion. Make it easy for the users if they want to know about your business.
Contact Info: Make It Clear
If you want visitors to get converted into customers, you need to give them a clear path of contacting you. If a visitor couldn’t contact you with ease, he/she will surely switch to some other relevant website.
III. Website Navigation
After your visitors know more about your business, they need to move to the area of their interest. Here comes the role of smooth navigation in making the website visit a pleasant experience for the prospects. What things to consider for website navigation, particularly for enhanced website usability? Here are mentioned a few.
Main Navi-Menu: Easy To Identify
There is main menu on almost every website that appears on World Wide Web. If the navigation consists of two or above areas, make the distinction clearer.
Navi-Labels: Go For Conciseness
Don’t exaggerate things with fancy words; instead, follow conventions. Like, Contact Us is good enough to reveal you have contact information there instead of using some other long tail phrases.
Buttons, Links: Make The Count Reasonable
Buttons in the menu bar or links to other web pages should be in reasonable limit. Decide about the most needed menu items or you can place them in layers, if the need be. Think about how many pieces of information a visitor can process and pick the buttons and links accordingly.
Company Logo Link: Direct To Home Page
It’s a general perception that a logo is linked to the home page, so it should be like that. If the logo isn’t clickable, it may create confusion for the site visitors.
Website Links: Need Consistency And Easy Identification
To enhance the website usability, the website links should be easy to identify like underlined or blued. There should be consistency in using the links to avoid the content getting disrupted.
Site Search: Make The Content Access Easier
The website search is the most helpful tool to make a website highly usable. Place the search box prominently at your website; upper right corner of the web page is perfect one. Don’t complicate the button with fancy words, simple “Search” will do the magic. For an ecommerce website, you can use search extension to make the task hassle-free for the customers.
IV. Website Content
Content is king, the most common statement given in favor of quality content, enhancing the website usability. Pay attention to present the content in an organized and consistent manner.
Main Content Headings: Make The Description Clearer
Create the headings that are clear, SEO-friendly, and descriptive. Most of the times, visitors don’t read the whole content, but just headings to get an idea of the information presented at a website. This section couldn’t be ignored.
Important Content: Place That Above The Fold
What’s meant by “above the fold”? It’s the bottom line of the web page when seen at first without scrolling. Make it sure that the critically important content is placed above the fold. Know your targeted audience and the screen sizes they are using, then decide about the area that comes as “above the fold”.
Color And Web Styling: Show Consistency
A single attempt to confuse the website visitors with the inconsistency of colors and styles may cause losing them. There should be consistency in the layout as well.
Emphasizing Content: Move Cautiously
Not everything on a website needs emphasis. However, where it’s needed, use that. If you let the visitor pay attention to everything or many things at a time, he/she might not be attentive to anything. So, follow the rule of sparingly emphasizing the content.
Pop-Ups And Ads: Avoid Making Then Disturbing
Although, you need Ads to make your website full of life, but don’t make them overloading your site visitors. If the Ads are important to be placed on your website, make them “clear to understand” for the site visitors.
Web Copy: Make That Descriptive
Avoid using jargon in the web copy and make that explanatory of what you are and what you want to communicate. Use less word count to deliver your thoughts in a concise manner.
Website URLs: Make Them User Friendly And SEO Friendly
Both search engines and end users like URLs to be keyword-based, meaningful, and user friendly. Make then descriptive of what your business is all about.
HTML Page Titles: Make Them Unique And Explanatory
When visitors come at your website, it’s the page title that they see at first. So, don’t make them looking spammy with keyword stuffing. Focus descriptiveness and uniqueness of the HTML page titles.
Tips For Usability Testing
After looking at all the usability areas that need to be considered for testing, it’s time to talk about the tips needed for usability testing. Here are mentioned few points that you should pay attention to while becoming a usability testing professional.
Usability Testing: It Has No Specified Time
There is no right time for website usability testing. You can perform the process at whatever stage your website development is. You will come to know either perfect working of your website or about a possible disaster. Whatever the testing results would be, you can go the right way to correct them.
Test Regularly: Smaller Changes Are Easier To Make
If you keep on testing your website from usability perspective, it will be easier to make small incremental changes, than some bigger ones at some later stage.
Testing Ideas: Share Your Concerns
You might get bombarded by the testing ideas before actually starting the process. It’s good to share the concerns, but make it clear that testing is an on going process and it should be treated like that. Don’t be afraid to make little changes as and when needed as per testing performed by the experts.
Help For Testing: Use Maximum Resources
Everyone might have different experience of the web, so it’s a good approach to get as many views of the people about the website usability. You will come across a variety of issues that users might face and hence find the best solution to enhance the website usability.
Listening To People: Don’t Rely On Every Opinion
There are many people who might give you weird suggestions. They might not have in depth knowledge of the usability aspects. Better to listen to everyone, but don’t rely on each and every opinion coming your way.
Social Media: Use The Power
While hunting for usability testers, social media can offer great help. Go to Facebook and Twitter; you will get better feedback from the actual users of your website, and the opinions would be realistic as well.
Join Communities: Another Approach
Other than social media, you can also join communities over World Wide Web to get help from real time testers. There are many good names, dig out the best ones for you.
Analyzing Results: Implement Improvements
The usability testing isn’t just meant to test the website, but to implement the improvements on the basis of feedback obtained from the testers. Analyze the results of the testing and you will be in a better position to make any tweaks to your website for the purpose of enhanced website usability.
What Experts Say About Usability Testing?
After looking at the website usability checklists, the usability tips, now is the time to go for the experts’ words. Ecommerce experts look into the matter differently. As revenue is the main concern at any ecommerce website, so they take usability testing that way. Here are given some points that ecommerce experts suggest to consider while conducting usability testing for the optimized website performance.
Test For Every Little Change
Many website owners make changes to the design or the functionality of the website, but forget to test that. Experts say every single change at a website should be tested to measure the effectiveness from the end users’ perspective.
Test To Track Revenue
For ecommerce websites, revenue-based testing is the main measure used by the usability experts. The results are also considered in terms of average order per user, increased as a result of testing. So, it’s all about tracking the revenue of ecommerce websites through testing.
Ask About Customer Complaints
While testing, one important thing is to ask the top problems users face at your website. The results will reveal the issues that your website has and you can come to the conclusion how to resolve them and make your website a better place for prospects.
Try Out Real Users For Testing
Instead of asking the contacts, go to the streets and ask real users to perform several tasks on your website in front of you. Ask them relevant questions and inquire about the issues they have to face at your website. It might take time, but the feedback would be realistic for the desired level of website improvement.
Use Other Tools
Picking real time testers is a good approach, but you can couple that with other tools like heat maps, which provides a qualitative assessment of the latest happenings on your website. It tells about the mouse movements of the users, how they scroll, how they click, and many more related things. The results of the tool will help you in better optimizing your website on the basis of a wise hypothesis and well-drafted testing strategy.
For ecommerce websites, there are lots of extensions available to make the website user friendly. You can pick the ones, suitable for your website, to enhance the user friendliness of your ecommerce store.
Website usability is the most important factor affecting the website performance. Usability testing needs serious attention of the website owners. Neglecting it means propelling the visitors away from a website and depriving a business from the possible profit. Usability testing experts can help in suggesting tweaks for a website so that it could appeal to the visitors and help them becoming the loyal customers of the business. What to consider for usability testing and where to go for that, the lines above have revealed in depth. It’s up to you whether you want to make your website search engine friendly as well as user friendly or make that a disaster by ignoring the usability testing. If you have a small website, and have know-how about usability testing, you can do so on your own, but if the website is a big ecommerce store, you need to hire experts for that. Make it sure that the testing is done by real-time testers and the results help your website becoming a big hit in your particular niche. After all, your website should be a home to the customers, and usability testing revolves around knowing the preferences of the customers.