Visitors from planet earth
Hello. Currently in the office we have some visitors from another place. These visitors are helping us out. They are not visitors from planet Geek with skills in coding, knowing new and amazing languages. Nor are these visitors from planet Design where the master Function rules over Form. No, these visitors are from planet earth. They are here to help us complete some usability testing.
What is usability testing?
Usability testing is the testing of a website to make sure it is easy to use. Our earth friends are given tasks to complete on a website and we watch them. As we carefully observe, record and document what the earthlings do we can clearly see what areas of the website needs work. Seein what people do first hand is much more powerul thn being told what people do.
Usability testing is important because;
- tests how people interact with, and actually use a website.
- highlights areas where there are usability problems
- tests the architecture of a website checking the organisation and hierarchy of information
- shows how people are interacting with a website presenting mood changes and patterns of behaviour.
- ensures the website design works
- will avoid customer frustration and exit
- improves a customer’s experience and therefore their relationship with the brand
- can give a company a competitive advantage
- can decrease costs providing alternative customer support
- can encourage customers to come back
- makes our designers intelligent; they are continually learning how to make really easy to use websites.
When do you do usability testing?
All the time is the right answer, but in reality…
Usability testing can be done on an existing websites to help recognise the problem areas for redevelopment, we can also compare competitor websites. Usability testing can also be done on newly completed websites to make sure the site is as easy to use as possible. But usability testing is most cost efficiently done on websites currently in development.
How do we do usability testing?
- The main tasks that the website is meant to perform are turned in scenarios.
- Our testing facilitator guides the visitors into each scenario giving them the tasks to complete. (eg you are a student and you want to apply for a loan online)
- A camera records every move they make and every sound they emit
- The facilitator encourages the visitor to verbalise their inner thoughts as they complete the tasks.
- The testing is repeated with different visitors (We have used up to 14 and as few as 2)
- We analyse the results
- We make recommendations and act on them
Usability testing will make your website best suit the people it is intended for – not your CEO, marketing manager or I. T. department, but normal visitors from plant earth.