Since website usability is one of the most critical components that help you achieve the goals you would like your target audience to complete while they are browsing the website, the better user experiences each target group has, the easier they are prompt to convert to your customers. In fact, high-quality websites not only reinforce the brands’ images and communicate brand values when users browse, but also bring a competitive edge over other competitors whilst users are at the decision-making stage. Therefore, website usability testing is supposed to exert an essential impact on both customer experience success and your brand equity. Many project owners choose to leave the website usability testing to the last minute, just right before the website is officially launched. If something goes wrong, either the launch date is postponed until the bugs are fixed, or force it to go live first and get the issues solved later. Our experience suggests that simply testing one user early in the project is better than testing 100 in the end. Most people assume that usability testing is a big deal that requires the entity a test lab with an observation room and a couple of usability testing professionals. As we mentioned previously, conducting DIY usability testing by the end of each sprint is an easy and cost-efficient way to probe users’ reaction towards your website and gather invaluable feedback which could be put into call-to-action list in your next sprint. “Focusing on participants’ on-site responses and prioritize testing tasks” are the two ingredients we covered before. Shinetech Testing Team introduces another three plausible tips to commence effective DIY usability testing.
When recruiting users, we always fall into the illusion that all the participants are supposed to think and behave like the target audience precisely. As a result, we always end up with raising certain criteria. For instance, we use demographic, psychographic and behaviourgraphic factors to narrow down the group size. However, the reality is that you can’t guarantee that your website is only attractive to your pre-defined target group. It’s not a good idea to build a site that only your target audience can use it. Instead, you can try to loosen up the requirements on the participants and allow the differences between participants and your true audience. Finding those who do not have sufficient domain knowledge and probing how they behave when they encounter usability issues are much more helpful in screening out the performance of your website.
A testing facilitator’s job is to organise the whole session, encourage the participants to think outside of the box and lead the flow of the session. Choosing someone who tends to be patient, empathetic and a good listener as facilitator is the rule of thumb. The wording that facilitators will use should be precise, descriptive and objective. In general, a typical one-hour test consists of 6 parts, including welcome narratives, questions, a brief page introduction tour, task completion, probing and summary. The welcome narratives start with the explanation on how the test is structured so that participants know what to expect. Followed by asking a few questions about participants themselves, this should shed lights on identifying the level of domain knowledge your participants have. Next, walk the participants through the website and ask them how they feel, basically, to get a better understanding about how they think of the website. Serving as a central to testing, watching the participants try to perform a series of tasks is the most critical part, where the facilitators should just observe and let participants sort out everything on their own without giving any clues or inductions. As for the last two parts, you can just propose some further questions and wrap up the test quickly. It’s better to practice the wording prior to the test to ensure that every concept is clearly defined and no biases exist in the dialogue.
Asking for suggestions after the testing not only demonstrates your courtesy to valuing participants’ thoughts, but also provides insights into how the site can better feed the users’ need in the future. Additionally, making a collective list of suggestions and debrief it among the development team helps them prioritize the issues waiting to be fixed and what they are going to do to fix them till the next sprint.
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