At ATAK Interactive, we believe user testing once a website is built is mandatory. We all have our own vision of what a perfect website will be, but in reality a perfect website is only that if your users feel this way. Your website design will always evolve. Just a few years ago, social media wasn’t on the marketing radar, and today you cannot build a new website without including social media tools and links.
While attention to detail is key through the coding process, attention to the customer is where the real test lies for a web development project. If everything is perfect, but it doesn’t inspire the customer to convert, your website is nothing more than an art project.
There are tools that you can use to learn what problems users may encounter with your website, but the best way to do so is to ask users! They know best what they like and don’t like, and they will be able to identify issues that slipped through any gaps in your testing.
Grab a User and Let’s Get Started!
For testing purposes, a brand new user to the website that is being tested is preferred. This person should be very descriptive and communicative, talking through all of their thoughts and impressions. It may be beneficial to record the session with video and/or audio, so that you can focus on how they act rather than recording any issues that come up. This way, they can also move through the site naturally, rather than wait for you to catch up with note taking.
Make sure that your testing user knows that they are to be fully honest about the experience – if this means having a non-designer sit on the session, that’s fine! It’s important to avoid explaining or justifying your choices while the user is relating their testing experience to you.
Find a quiet meeting space where you can both be comfortable and focused. If you are using recording equipment, run a short test and playback so that your results won’t be lost due to technology issues. While leading the session, try to sit away from or behind your test user, so that they don’t feel as put on the spot. Ask their first impressions, and have a list of questions that you want the answers to on-hand to make the most of the session. Questions you may want to ask include:
- • Have you been to this website before?
- • What is your immediate impression when you land at our home page?
- • What do you sense is the purpose of this site?
- • Do you think this website is for a customer like you?
- • How do you find the site layout? Do you like the organization? If no, why not?
- • If you were looking for “XYZ Product” could you easily find it?
- • Can you get to the home page easily, from anywhere on the site?
- • Can you find our contact information?
- • Is there something that you weren’t expecting to see?
- • Was anything on our website too hard to find?
- • Do you have any issues with the color scheme used on the website?
- • Was the text on the website easy to read?
- • Does the product search work for you? Please try a search and tell me your thoughts.
- • Can you find our social media profiles?
- • How do you feel about the account registration process?
- • Can you easily find where to reset your password?
- • Can you easily find where to logout and login?
- • Can you easily subscribe to our newsletter?
- • Are you happy with the email message you received when you registered
- • How likely are you to recommend this site to someone else?
- • Can you name any competitor sites this reminds you of?
- • What are your favorite three things about this website?
- • What are your least favorite things about this website?
- • If you could change one thing on this website what would it be and why?
- • What frustrated you about this site?
- • If you had a magic wand, what would you fix about this site?
Every website is different, so these questions may not apply in all cases, but if they don’t, they should serve as a starting point for your own questionnaires. If this looks great to you, download it in PDF form for use on a tablet or printed out.