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How to Set up a Website Usability Test

How to Set up a Website Usability Test

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Published by Tom Lauck
A short guide to developing a usability test for your website.

Don’t guess at how people are using your site. You need to actually watch and see how people find information and get direct feedback. In most cases, a properly executed usability test will uncover areas of confusing navigation and roadblocks in the flow or delivery of information.
A short guide to developing a usability test for your website.

Don’t guess at how people are using your site. You need to actually watch and see how people find information and get direct feedback. In most cases, a properly executed usability test will uncover areas of confusing navigation and roadblocks in the flow or delivery of information.

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Published by: Tom Lauck on May 06, 2009
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06/16/2009

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Five Steps to Website Usability
A simple website usability test can liftconversions and dramatically increasecustomer satisfaction
2009 HiveMind Marketing, Inc.
®
 
Five Steps To Website Usability
Have you looked at your company’s website lately? Did you everthink that web visitors might occasionally get frustrated? Usabilityis critical. It can make the difference between performing a task
accurately and completely or not nishing it at all; enjoying the
process or being frustrated.
Don’t guess at how people are using your site. You need to actually watch and see how people nd
information and get direct feedback. In most cases, a properly executed usability test will uncovertwo key things:
Areas of confusing navigation.
There is no doubt that your web design team knows howyour site navigation functions. But does the new user know this? It is important to realize
that about an hour into designing your project, you have probably lost all perspective on
how the interface appears to others. You need to test and see.
Roadblocks in the ow or delivery of information.
Not everyone in your hivemind audiencemay know that the e-mail address for the author is at the end of the text or that thepanoramic photograph moves when the arrows on either side are clicked. What seemsnormal and natural to the designer is not always so with the user. If you discover that
3-out-of-5 people can’t nd registration links, you can make a quick change to the site and
easily increase the conversion rate.Here’s how to go about putting together your own usability test.
Intelligent Lead Generation
HiveMind Marketing, Inc.
1724 Alberta Avenue San Jose, CA 95125
 
T:
 
408.266.3162
E:
 
2
Today’s “hivemind” audience is an intelligent, collective consciousness that acts independently, connects with other like-minded individuals spontaneously, can’t be 
controlled, and has signifcan
impact on your company’s brand and ultimate success in the marketplace.
 
Five Steps to Website Usability
HiveMind Marketing, Inc.
1724 Alberta Avenue San Jose, CA 95125
 
T:
 
408.266.3162
E:
 
3
1: Develop your strategy
Choose tasks.
Determine at least ten (but no more than 15) tasks that a user should beable to successfully execute to get the most out of your website. Carefully select tasks basedon what actual users of the site would do. These could include items such as navigating the
site in a specic, preferred order.
Test sooner rather than later.
No web designer wants to make changes to something they
believe is in its nal form. Schedule your usability test in the beta stage of a site redesign— not quite nalized, but nal enough so someone can navigate the site.
Do not test your colleagues.
Anyone already familiar with your website or your company
does not represent a typical visitor. In an ideal world, test subjects are recruited through amarketing research rm. Bottom line: try to solicit representative test subjects that are as
close to typical hivemind users as possible.
2: Develop your questions
Pre-experiment questions.
Give some context to the results and help you understand the
Web practices of your test subjects by asking them to quantify the amount of time theyspend online. You also may want to ask questions that gauge their interest in the subject of
the website you are testing.
Post-experiment questions.
Administer a written questionnaire, once all tasks are com
-pleted, that asks users to rank their success with the site.
Interview questions.
Plan a few open-format interview questions to ask each participantat the end of the session. These should elicit more overall, qualitative impressions of the
website.

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