Objective view Before user testing website

So where should you look? Obviously this depends on what your niche is, but there are some general sources for you to look:

  • Craigslist
  • Relevant Forums
  • Friends
  • Current Customers
  • Schools (flyers and job boards)
  • Office Buildings (flyers)

Qualifying your user testers is critical. You need to find someone that fits the description of your typical customer. That includes age, occupation, gender, geographic location, and any other qualifiers you find important to your customer set. You want to find the most qualified user testers possible in order to get the most of your test.

Remember, if you sell your product or service internationally, try and get users outside of your country. If you are in the U.S., I highly recommend grabbing user testers from Canada and the UK at the very least.

Offering an Incentive

Let's face it. People aren't going to just volunteer their free time to help your business make money without a little incentive. I'd recommend the following:

First, make it clear that it will only take a half hour of their time. You'll be able to get plenty of information in that time, and it won't seem like a burden to them.

Second, pay them $50 for their time. If you work for a web marketing agency, you should put this cost on the client. $50 is the perfect amount of money (I have found) to get many applicants for user testing so you can qualify them.

Setting Up the Test

If any of your users are local, it would be best for you to have them come to your office. That isn't always convenient for them, though. Luckily, there are great programs out there for you to use where you can share screens with them. Two of the biggest are WebEx and Goto Meeting.Setup a conference call line where you can record the call (this will help you later). Once you get the user on the test and all setup, follow these steps:Have everything on your desktop minimized.

Explain the purpose of the test and remind them that you aren't testing them, you are testing the website.

Stress to them that they need to think out loud. Anything that comes into their mind about the website, any wish or any frustration needs to be vocalized.

The Five Second Test

Begin the test with a five second look at the homepage. Explain to your user tester that they will only have five seconds to look at the homepage of the site. After that time, you will minimize the website and you'll ask them what they think the company does.It is critical that a customer is able to immediately tell what your company offers them within five seconds. In most cases, if they can't figure it out, they will immediately leave and move on to the next search result

The Rest of the TestGive the user tester full control of the mouse. Now it is time to let them explore. You should have main objectives/tasks that you want them to complete, but it is also interesting to see what they think they should be doing on the site.

Make sure to take detailed notes and ask them why they like or don't like something. I'd also recommend having them try and buy something if they are an ecommerce website, and taking them all the way up to the final checkout page. This will be a great way to determine why people are bailing out in your shopping process. Are you forms too long? Would it be possible to checkout in 3 steps instead of 4?

Finishing the Test

Once thirty minutes has expired, thank the user tester and find a way to pay them immediately. If possible, I think it is also a great idea to send them a small gift that you sell on your site to thank them again for their participation.

Playback the recorded phone call and make sure you were able to catch the most important comments about the website. Once you have completed at least 5 user tests, go through and make an actionable list. I like to divide this list into three parts:Critical Items - things we need to address immediately.

Important Items - More of a second tier, important but not critical.

Nice to Have - These changes would be nice to have in the future, and they are something you should consider once everything else has been tested and implemented.

Now before you go making all of these changes to your site, test them first. Setup an A/B or multivariate test to test your findings. There might be more than one way to implement the changes your user testers want to see. Find out what your customers prefer.

3 Critical Times to Conduct User TestsA/B or Multivariate Testing. The very first thing you should do when you decide you want to change your design around, is find out what the users think. In order to figure out which areas of your site should be prioritized, setup user tests and have them run through the current site as outlined above.Redesigning Your Website.

Before you get your new site setup, figure out what users are having trouble with on your current site. One of the worst things you can do is replicate the frustrating aspects of your site. Take notes and figure out what your users wish your site would do for them, and then make it happen.Increase Conversion Rates. Unless your conversion rate is at 100%, there is room for improvement. If you can't figure out what is keeping your conversion rates where they are, you should use user testing to get in your customer's mind. You'll quickly find out what little or big improvements you can make to improve conversions.

Category: Web Development Viewing 6803 | Added in February 3, 2014

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