User Testing Tips for Website Owners
This process involves having users in your target demographic try your site in an effort to find any bugs or recommend positive changes. This is a step that cannot be skipped, and the tips below will create a proper testing routine that touches on all required areas of your site.
What is User Testing?
In a nutshell, user testing involves having potential users try your website to ensure that it has all of the components necessary for success. User testing is ideal for when you are creating your website as well as after any system updates down the road. When thinking about what you want to test on your website, you’ll generally want to follow all of the same requirements that you do when working on search engine optimization.
In order to show up at the top of an online results page, you need to optimize your website with fast loading times, functioning internal and external links, and readable and engaging content. As such, you need to test these all of these functions and more. Proper testing will not only ensure that your website runs smoothly, but will also save you a lot of time and work down the road because if you find the issues prior to launch, you won’t need to repeatedly update the code to fix a live website.
Proper testing is also tied to user retention. If testing shows that your site has issues that would turn away future users, you can amend those issues, so customers stay on your site longer and buy more products. In the end, user testing is essential to any successful website, and it is not a step that should be taken lightly.
Finding the Right Testers
Knowing what you’ll need to test is crucial, but choosing your testers is also an important decision. You essentially have two main options: you can either have testers come into your business and complete the procedures as you monitor their progress, or you can hire remote testers. There are benefits to both options.
When you bring testers into your environment, you can see first hand how they are doing and the struggles they are facing with your product. You also have a better opportunity to have a dialogue with the testers and get immediate feedback. Plus, if you want to modify your testing, you can do so on the spot, which may result in more comprehensive results. As a down side, the time and cost of having people come to your organization may not be ideal for smaller websites.
Even the most experienced tester can get a bit nervous when they know that they are being monitored, which could result in flawed analysis, hence the advantage of hiring remote testers. A remote option gives the testers the chance to try your website in their own natural environment where there is no stress of doing the wrong thing. Another significant benefit of remote testers is that you can use people from anywhere, even internationally, and having that wide scope of feedback is a major bonus. This method can also be less expensive and time-consuming.
Once you have your testers in place, and you have identified what you want to analyze, the next step is to make a task list that addresses the quality assurance goals of your testing process. Provide all testers with the same list so you can get balanced results. Start with functionality testing, which has users verify that all links, buttons, and forms are performing correctly. Also, add in cookies testing to confirm that your site can properly maintain user sessions.
Then there is usability testing. How easy is it for the testers to get around the site, and is the navigation clear and functioning properly? The navigation should always be consistent with the main menu appearing on each page. If you are allowing the ability for users to print from your site, ensure that the font, graphics, and page alignment are conducive to paper printing. Since a site that works on mobile devices is not only necessary for good SEO, but also for many end-users, be sure to test the same components in that format as well.
You should also test for performance and browser capability. Does your website look the same and function just as quickly on all internet browsers? How are your load times? If your testers are seeing lag now, just imagine the slow down when you have more users active on a live site. Finally, some cybersecurity testing is also beneficial, so test password creation requirements and verify that hackers cannot access your system via malicious links in phishing emails.
There is no way around it. If you want to have a successful online business, then you absolutely must have your website tested. Fix all the kinks now so your business can thrive in the future.
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