How to get started with website testing
As we’ve already seen, website usability testing is a crucial aspect of web development and plays a vital role in enhancing the user experience. Use it to gather information about how your users interact with your website and identify areas for improvement. By conducting regular website usability tests, you can make sure that your website is user-friendly, accessible, and efficient. Let’s look in more detail at the steps you can take to get started with usability testing for your website or web application.
1. Determine what to measure
The first step is to determine what you want to measure. Clearly define your testing goals and what information you want to gather. Focus on testing one aspect of your website at a time. For example, you can test the process of booking a hotel or the checkout process for your e-commerce store.
2. Identify the best method
After defining your testing goals, choose a usability testing method that suits your goals and resources. There are several types of usability testing methods, like in-person testing, unmoderated remote testing, and moderated remote testing. In-person testing is ideal for controlled tests, while unmoderated or moderated remote testing is suitable for obtaining results in a shorter time frame. For example, if you wanted to test how users would navigate from your homepage to search for and book a hotel in Barcelona, you might decide to run a navigation test to help you work out the user flow.
3. Create a task scenario and set your success rate
A task scenario is the objective that your participants need to achieve. This can be a series of tasks, such as creating an account, searching for and selecting a hotel, and making a payment. Determine the success rate based on the goal of the test. For example, you can consider the time it takes to complete each task, the accuracy of the information entered, and the overall ease of use.
4. Recruit your participants
Five to seven participants per session is ideal. You can use the guerrilla method for early-stage testing or recruit participants close to your user persona for later development stages. The guerrilla method involves selecting individuals at random to test your website, while recruiting participants close to your user persona involves finding individuals with traits that reflect your real users.
You might source participants from your customer base, via social media, or through online communities. It’s also worth considering offering your participants incentives, like gift cards. If you’re using a remote testing platform like UsabilityHub, you can use a participant panel to make recruiting participants easier.
5. Conduct the test
When conducting the test, make sure that you give your participants clear instructions and explain the goals of the test. Ensure consistency in terms of the task and order, even for unmoderated remote tests.
6. Analyze and report findings
After receiving the results of your website usability tests, note common issues and areas for improvement. Organize and summarize your findings, and share your recommendations for improvements with the rest of the product team.
Usability testing is an ongoing process, so be sure to run tests again after making changes, and continuously monitor for new usability problems.