“As a viewer, I should never have to devote a second thought to as why not to click the ‘next’ option”
And this is why usability testing is so important. Usability itself is an approach that integrates direct user feedback throughout the development, reducing costs and creating products that meet user needs. Usability testing, however, defines how easy and user-friendly a software is to use. Website usability testing answers various questions about the product before it launches into the market to ensure that it matches customer and industry expectations.
Why perform usability testing?
Aesthetics and design are important. How well a product looks is a key determiner in how well it works and how users interact with the product.
Many software applications/websites miserably fail once launched, due to following reasons:
- Where do I click next?
- Which page needs to be navigated?
- Which icon or jargon represents what?
- Error messages are not consistent or effectively displayed
- Session time not sufficient
Usability testing methods identify such user-focused issues in the system early in the development cycle and can save a product from failure when in the hands of real users.
Usability testing advantages
What are the actual benefits of performing usability testing on a website or application? Let's look at them below:
- Helps uncover usability issues before the product is marketed
- Helps improve end-user satisfaction, increasing digital customer loyalty and conversions
- Ensures your development system is highly effective and efficient
- Gather true feedback from your target audience instead of relying on the "opinions" from random/unfiltered people
Types of usability testing
- "Get it" testing: How much does the user know about the app?
"Basic knowledge about the app?"
"Basic knowledge about the features?"
- Key task testing: Ask the user to do a specific task, and observe their actions. For example, ask them to add specific items to the cart.
- Comparison exploratory/formative: Can users imply "walk up and use" it or in this case click on it, and see value in the website?
- Comparative test: Compare and examine two competitive websites. Use this testing type to gather information about a competitor’s website when compared to yours and explore the potential market value increase when user-based recommendations are introduced.
How to perform a usability test: The complete process
The usability testing process consists of the following phases:
Planning: During this phase the goals of the usability test are determined. Having volunteers sit in front of your application and recording their actions is not a goal. You need to determine critical functionalities and objectives of the system. You need to identify which tasks you want your participants to perform, specifically focusing on critical functionalities. During this phase, usability testing methods employed, the number & demographics of usability participants are also determined.
Recruiting: During this phase, you recruit the desired number of participants as per your usability test plan. Finding participants who match your demographic (age, sex, etc.) and professional (education, job, etc.) profile can take time. Therefore sourcing an established website testing company to help you through the process is recommended. Website testing companies (such as Digivante) can provide you with all the tools you need to cut down testing timelines, while reducing usability-centred costs.
Usability testing: During this phase, usability tests are actually executed.
Data analysis: Data from the usability tests is then thoroughly analysed to derive meaningful inferences and give actionable recommendations, improving the overall usability of your product.
Reporting: Findings of the usability test are then shared with all concerned stakeholders which can include designers, developers, clients, and C-level members.
On the surface, usability testing appears to be one of the simpler website testing methods currently used within the industry as it relies heavily on repeated observation and analysis testing. You don't need to go through lines and lines of code or script to perform a usability test. But improper test plan production can damage your site, consequently wasting your time.
Sourcing an established website testing company with a history of exclusive clients ranging from large scale brands to smaller UK-based companies, will help you and your team receive the most beneficial results that increase your competitive edge. Usability testing can be a great failure and a huge success if done with proper planning and overcoming the crucial problems of the test.
How does Digivante perform usability testing? Click HERE to find out.