Zoda Design Blog
Website Usability & Why It’s Important
The last thing you want to happen is a customer get frustrated and click off your website five minutes after getting to your site. Why would this happen you might ask? People are busy, and chances are good that maybe they are trying to find some information quickly, or on lunch break, etc. Having a series of usability testing done can ensure that people who visit your site will find the information they need and stick around to learn more.
What is Usability Testing?
Usability testing is usually a very simple and painless process, and it allows you to see how easily people can navigate their way around to find information that they are searching for. The test should involve six to eight people who haven’t been to your website before; tracking software will record their movements with the mouse, as well as their eye movements while they navigate the page. We ask them to complete a series of tasks and scenarios and have them speak aloud as much as possible so we know what they are thinking about the website. This is where it can be painful – sometimes it’s not easy to hear that the website you created is ugly or is not easy to navigate, but in the long run that’s what it’s all about – fixing what is wrong and keeping people not only on your website but also coming back.
How to Get People to Participate
When I was in school, one of the most daunting tasks was finding volunteers to sit for twenty minutes and tell me what’s wrong with a website. Being a broke college student, I usually went to the dollar store for a few bags of candy and walked the halls offering free candy to anyone who would participate in my test. Generally, people like free stuff! Business owners can use this method by offering usability volunteers a free product for testing their site – this could be a very inexpensive way to get people to take the test.
After the Test
After the testing is all done you will receive a findings report. Within that report will be a solution to each of the identified problems. Sometimes they are minor fixes (like moving some navigation buttons around), but sometimes it involves a complete overhaul of the website. If that is the case, please don’t be discouraged – you are taking a positive step towards your website being the effective marketing tool that it should be.
Web Designer / Developer
D-Jay Bidwell is a web developer who is from and still resides in Saginaw, MI. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Professional and Technical Writing from Saginaw Valley State University. Starting out his focus was mainly content writing, but quickly developed a passion for web development. You can view his website or send him an email.