10 Tips for Testing Your Website's Design

You have finally got a website that you can be proud of, but you need to make absolutely sure. You need to make sure that you haven't missed something in the design. The best way to discover your site's usability is through testing. Here are some great thoughts for testing.

1. Create goals

Decide on a series of questions that you want to answer about your website. Your users should be able to navigate the site and find the information that you want them to know. Your sales page needs to be easy to use. Design your testing with a specific problem in mind.

2. Plan realistic tests

For your test groups, you want to have subjects that best fit the real people who are going to be using your site. If you are selling soccer balls, chances are you do not want your testers to be elderly. You will gain the most insight when you are being as realistic as possible.

3. Set up multiple test runs

Do not settle for one group, because the information that they give you may be anomalous. You want to have at least two groups, preferably three, to test your website. When you receive feedback from the first group, make some changes and retest.

4. Be specific with subjective questions

You want to get the subject's opinion about your site, but a simple yes or no answer does you no good. Ask your participants to list what they liked and what they didn't like. You want to get as much information as you can.

5. Keep the test short

You want to be thorough, but you cannot keep your subjects in the room for long periods of time. Create a test that is short and sweet, focused on the answers that you are after. You will gain more participants in your testing with short quizzes.

6. Ask questions in pairs

Ask your testers for a subjective range and then follow that up with a question like, 'why did you choose your answer?' That way, you are getting more detailed information than just a number.

7. Quantify your results

Instead of asking yes or no questions, allow for a range of opinions. Let them rate statements on a scale of strongly agree to strongly disagree. This adds quite a lot more depth than yes or no. You want the flaws of your site to be discovered.

8. Scavenger Hunts

When you ask your test participants to look at your site, give them a task to complete, rather than asking them to explore. Give them incentive to find a 'treasure' within the site or have them perform a task like pretending to buy one of your products.

9. Watch your testers

Don't depend on the results of the surveys that you give test participants. Watch their faces as they try to navigate your site. Do not offer to help, merely observe their frustration.

10. Debrief participants

Follow up your test with a debriefing. Have your test administrators thank each of the participants and compensate them as necessary. You want to be polite and professional, encouraging your users to ask further questions.

Testing a website's viability and usability can be frustrating if you are only receiving weak subjective information. Develop a strong test and you will get the answers you need.

James is a staff writer who works at one of the leading online suppliers of ink cartridges. He writes detailed reviews of products such as the HP 300XL ink cartridge and covers developments in design and technology on their blog.


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Hack Tutors — Blogger Tricks, Blogging and Social Media Tips: 10 Tips for Testing Your Website's Design
10 Tips for Testing Your Website's Design
Hack Tutors — Blogger Tricks, Blogging and Social Media Tips
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