Clearing up the confusion: What is usability testing?

    By Amy Montague, Thursday 16 May 2019

    Usability is an odd one. In many ways, it is essential and should be viewed as a compulsory part of website/app production. But more often than not usability testing isn’t given a second glance, or tight for time companies perform automated usability testing, which defeats the point of usability testing. Read our 2020 guide.

    For reference, website user testing or usability testing (UX) centres around utilising real-world testers to perform basic customer journeys, while providing their own personal feedback. Why is this important? Because if you want to design a website which appeals to a specific audience, then that audience should have some input into how it looks and behaves. You can’t rely on the hypothesis to improve your conversion rates; you need real data. In general, UX increases your revenue and customer loyalty as the website is, in a way, personalised to fit a specific audience type.


    One of the best or worse parts about usability testing is literally anyone, within your target audience can do it. This means you don’t have to recruit professional accredited testers, which can be expensive and time-consuming. But this also means you must find people to test for you, and this is where third parties come in to bridge the gap.

    Why is real-world testing better than automated usability testing? Because real people will pick up on all the little problems automation simply can’t. Everything from word choice to colour matters and this is what real testers naturally highlight.

    what is user testing

    • Clear and concise

    You must have a clear idea about who your target audience or buyer persona is. Everything from age, gender, job to hobbies, depending upon the industry, should be considered. You can do an overall sweep of your audience for a general UX test but if your industry is very specific then a more in-depth analysis would be necessary

    • Gather the troops 

    Next bring together a group of real-world testers. This will be cheaper, quicker and easier with a third party on hand. Then brief the testers on any specific user journeys you want to focus on, especially if you have noticed an odd bounce rate on a particular page.

    • Let them loose

    Then release your real-world testers onto your website/app. If the website/app is currently live then, again, testing third parties will be useful as all their UX testers will have been briefed about the legal restrictions involved with a pre-released site and will understand how to approach the site/app.

    • Review and resolve

    Once all the data has come back, it’s up to you (or a third party) to go through it and order each issue in terms of urgency or severity. Issues which will lead to higher abandonment rates or bounce rates should be at the top, while colour preference can be lower down. Then send the list onto your internal teams for them to solve.

    User testing websites is quite simple compared to some other web testing divisions, however, it’s often underappreciated. One simple change can increase your conversions dramatically and third parties have the tools required to make the whole UX experience quick and easy.

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    Amy Montague

    Amy Montague

    As one of the Marketing Executives for Digivante, Amy provides and reviews most of the copy and visual content for Digivante. Amy has a natural flair for the creative and introduces aspect into her marketing role.

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