Website Usability Testing: Why and How To Start?

Being an aspiring web designer, it’s extremely crucial for you not to overlook the importance of usability in your web design. Usability is a quality attribute that defines the level of convenience users enjoy while navigating around a website.

Usability is a key aspect in a design which makes it easy to use, provide information in a logical sequence, position design elements in their desired locations and there should be a complete absence of ambiguity.

Website Usability Testing

If you have ever run a usability test before, then you’ll know that it is not as easy as it looks. Although, it isn’t an uphill battle, there are some key points which can create a difference. In this post, I have shared some knowledge about usability testing, and the ways you can opt to perform it.

After performing the usability testing, you’d be in a better position to know about the potential issues in your design, help you get feedback what works and what needs to be worked, and gain a broader understanding of what users are actually doing on your website.

What is Usability Testing?

Usability testing is a method of testing a website design on its users. Whenever a usability test is going to be performed, an environment is constructed wherein a person performs a range of tasks to determine whether the web design is working properly or not.

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There are basically three categories of usability testing:

  • Explorative- Used initially to analyze the effectiveness of a preliminary design or prototype. It also helps in detecting the user’s thought process and understanding about the design.
  • Assessment – Used during the process of website development. The test is conducted to have an idea about the technology used within the design to determine the satisfaction level of the visitor.
  • Comparative - the test provides a clear cut comparison of two designs and highlights the strengths and weaknesses of both of them.

Getting Started with Usability Testing

  • Getting Rid of the Clutter

No visitor would like to browse a messy website because it simply makes their experience complicated. Therefore, don’t hesitate to make use of a proper white space on your website. This makes the viewing easier and pleasurable.

Also, do not fill up your website with superfluous text and unnecessary images. Such kind of inclusion makes a website looking busy and chaotic. Practically, they make difficult for users to locate essential things. A clean and simple design focuses on providing information to visitors and thus improves usability instantly.

  • Creating a Delightful First Impression

First impression works everywhere whether it’s a gift shop or a website. When it comes to web design, one need to add a greater degree of indulgence on your part to make sure the visitors are pleased with what they see and are willing to spend more time contemplating on your offerings.

Elements such as navigation, color scheme, typography, page elements etc., have their own level of importance in drawing the user’s attention. Also, the speed at which your page loads can make a huge difference in retaining your visitors. To make sure your page loads fast, keep things such as videos, graphics, and images to the minimum.

The “Five Second Test” is a useful tool that helps you optimize your page speed load and make it in tune with calls to action by detecting essential elements of your website.

  • Improve Website Readability

Nothing can beat the significance of a simple and clean website. This is especially true when it comes to defining how easy to read your website is. Here are some readability tips you can follow to improve readability of your website.

  • You need to be careful about the choice of color scheme, which should be in-lieu with what your website is all about and what it represents.
  • A really bright background with a cheesy color combination will widely put you off the mark.
  • Paying attention to a little typography that’s present on the home page will serve you well.
  • Develop Different Ways to Study Usability

Webmasters can work on several methods and techniques to evaluate the usability of their website. The most basic type of usability testing has three main components.

  • Getting hold of some representative users, customers, or even the employees who can perform some tasks for the testing purpose.
  • Ask the user to perform some recurring tasks within the design.
  • Closely monitor what users do, where they succeed, and where they face complexities.

It’s important to test different users individually and provide ways for them to solve the problems of their own first. Also, to detect the most significant usability issues, testing them with around 5 users is enough rather than doing an extensive study. Designers should focus on performing small tests and fix the fatal issues from the insights gained from them. Iterative design is the most recommended way of improving the usability of your website and ensuring a high-quality experience.

To Sum It Up

Designing, planning, and implementing usability test is a sure proof way of fixing an array of usability problems which you might not notice. The only way to ensure a reliable user testing is to perform testing at each step of the design process and thus see what actually works with your visitors.

This post is written by Maria Mincey, who is qualified web development professional who is great at delivering focus in her writings. She works for Xicom Technologies, a CakePHP web development company which delivers most comprehensive web applications and solutions for different industry verticals.