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Does Your Website Pass the Test?: 4 Tips for Self-Testing

A+ test paper graphic

You’ve launched your site, maybe last month, maybe last year, maybe longer.

Time for a pop quiz!

Here’s the million dollar question:

Is your website useful or interesting to your target audience?

Most of us would love to shout a resounding “YES!” but the fact is, many businesses just aren’t sure how to tell.

Self-testing can be a great way to constantly improve your website’s user experience, especially for a business on a budget.

Here are 4 top tips for the self-tester:

Form a Study Group

Don’t stress about finding professional testers. Remember: you’re looking for average web-surfers, who all have different technical abilities. Enlist family, friends or staff to test-drive your site. Studies suggest that a minimum of 5 people are likely to pinpoint any major issues in layout, navigation or display.

Focus on the trends. If only one person is having a problem, it may be an isolated or insignificant issue.  If 2 or more have the same problem, it’s time to get involved.

Be in the Room

Don’t wait for that final, polished report. Observing your testers in real-time reveals crucial market info, including what they click first, how they instinctively navigate your site, and when they become disengaged. Ask your testers to talk through their experience so that you get a sense of what’s going on in the heads of potential clients.

If at all possible, try to observe your testers on their home computer to ensure the environment is as natural as possible. If remote testing is a must, try using a screen-sharing app, like Google Hangouts. You need the inside scoop on how users are interacting with your site.

Ask Good Questions

If you ask your testers to “check out your website,” you’re going to get feedback like, “Seems like a pretty cool site.”

Instead, ask critical questions. Define the 4-5 main functions/features of your site – whether online shopping cart, contact form or comment box – and get clear feedback on user experience.

What Not to Test

Focus on the function, not the fashion. A small focus group won’t give you a wide enough demographic of artistic and graphic design.

If you’re dead-set on getting some feedback on design, set the parameters. A good way to do this might be to offer 5-10 descriptive words (welcoming, cutting-edge, friendly) and asking your testers to select 1-3 that best define their experience.

If you’re interested in other types of website testing, including accessibility, mobile and multi-browser, AWEBthatWORKS is – as always – just a phone call away.

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Posted on by Anne
Categories: Techie Tuesdays, Testing
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