How complete strangers can make you thousands of dollars in under an hour.
What if there was a way to get complete strangers to help you with developing a more functional, higher conversion (money-making) website? There is! It’s called usability testing (UT).
Usability testing can tell you what’s wrong with your website quickly, easily. You want to make your website better? Usability testing takes you all the way.
The Problem: Visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.
It’s found that if fighter pilots have too many sounds going on or things to watch for, they get situational overload – they can’t hear missile locks and see BIG FLASHING RED klaxon warnings because they can’t filter out the most important things from the rest (like you’re going to get hit by a missile). The same goes for your website. Let’s do a quick example:
- Visitor lands. Let’s say a visitor lands on your website. They are immediately barraged with tons of choices. But since there is tons of choices, they’re not quite sure where to go next.
- Visitor doesn’t find what they’re looking for. They try to find the search button – can’t! They start to scroll around the page, hoping that they’ll find what they’re looking for. Can’t!
- The result: visitor leaves. And you have no idea why.
So, how do you know?
How do you know that your website works? What if your customer is coming and bouncing away? How can you tell if they are? It’s the epic eternal question that every business website owner asks.
If you aren’t doing UT, you don’t know what’s going on. These tools will give you the insight to change your website for the better. UT Tools help you find out why your website isn’t working.
The solution: online usability testing.
Now, you might say lower the choices, right? Make certain things stand out? And that’s a great start. But let’s face it, there’s a lot you want to tell the customer!
1. You can test a single problem by asking questions.
In our past articles we talked about ways to create a testing culture. That’s a great way to test things about customer service, products, even websites. But for websites, you need to go deeper. UT is the ‘deep delve’ into the absolute functionality of your website.
2. You can test a website with customers right in front of you.
We’ve also talked about traditional usability testing, where you have a customer sit down at a computer screen and record their reactions of you asking questions. This is very effective. But what if you’re finding that it’s not so easy to find test subjects?
3. Enter the Online UT Tools.
Here are some great tools for testing online. You don’t need test subjects, and you can ask a lot of questions at once.
Most are under 50 bucks (or free). There is one that’s a touch expensive, but the value is very high ($350 for learning how to make $10,000 in the next year? We hope you’re fine with that!)
|usertesting.com||$39||Video of testing talking about experience, write up from tester.||$39/person. No ability to ask follow-up questions.|
|fivesecondtest.com||Free||Fast, ‘Karma’ exchange||Micro-testing of usability elements (calls to action, not whole pages)|
|4qsurvey.com||Free||Quick survey that speaks directly to the ‘why’ (their need for coming to website)||Doesn’t show where people are clicking.|
|loop11.com||$350||More like traditional UT, super-detailed analysis.||A bit pricey.|
|usabilla.com||$49||Quick survey that speaks directly to ‘need’||Doesn’t show where people are clicking.|
UserTesting is a panel-based tool (like a panel of experts) that allows you to ask questions and get both a write up and a video of their thoughts. It’s just like traditional UT, but remotely done and ‘after the fact).
What I liked about the tool is that it’s an a la carte – you pay per tester for cheap, and if you need more testing, then you do it again! You can also modify your website design between testers, so you can see a continual improvement. It would be nice to be able to ask the testers follow up questions, but hey, it’s still great information.
That video function is why we like it the best, BTW; hearing someone talk to you about it is incredibly fun (and a little scary, it’s true… but we’re trying to improve, here, right?).
Five Second Test by Angry Monkeys Pty Ltd.
This is a really great concept (though a bit limited) – you upload a design, the tester gets 5 seconds to view your design, and then enters all the things that they remember about the website. In a way, this is the ‘first blush’ effect – whether people grasp what you’re selling quickly.
It’s free, so that’s a bonus. And, you can gain ‘karma’ with testing other people’s design (and then they test you.) It’s great for mini-tests, especially during the design phase. You can quickly test 3 layouts and see which one ‘penetrates the mind’ more.
It’s limited because you can really only ask one question at a time, and then only two types of questions – what do you remember, and what would you like to click on. There is not page A > page B >page C testing (how the user clicks through the site, this is called click-stream), so there is limited use for the tool. But many websites are decided upon in the first few moments of arriving – and this is the tool that tests that.
This 4Q survey tool installs a survey on your website that pops up and asks why the person came to your website. This is a very direct method of asking your visitor. It won’t tell you what to change, but it will tell you why they’re leaving your website.
It’s easy to install, free, and has some impressive data that it gives you, provided you get enough survey takers. It’s not your average usability testing, but that’s okay. This tool is more the ‘why’ people are on your website than the ‘what’ is wrong with it. But much insight can be given through this method of testing.
Loop11 is a bit more ‘heavy duty’ than the other UT tools that we’ve found. It’s solid, and gives you that fine granularity of detail that you might be looking for (most successful page, time to click on buttons, etc.)
It’s pricey, but if you need the detail, it’s a very inexpensive solution in relation to larger systems (that can cost thousands of dollars!)
At a starting price of $49, this tool gives you the goods. Click stream, heat maps, the works. Pretty easy to setup, too. Once again, however, no ability to ask follow up questions. But at $49 to start, it’s a great way to find out what you need to change NOW!
You can also invite your participants to leave feedback on areas of your website that might not be working for them, visually and brand-wise. All in all, a great tool.
Usability testing can be done in three ways: (1), you can sit down with a customer at a computer screen and ask some questions, which also gives you follow up questions to ask; (2) you can have a group of employees asking for feedback from any customer they can get their hands on – great for ideation; or, you can test remotely through online UT.
Online UT gives you the ability, for a few dollars, learn why you’re website is not working. The tools vary; some are survey takers, others do clickstream analysis on user behavior. Some just give a ‘flash’ of an image and record what the user remembers. But using these tools gives you an advantage in the competitive world of market share. These tools can save you hundreds of hours in website development, and make you thousands of dollars by increasing conversion.
Share this article, won’t you?
Here are some other great articles that you might be interested in reading! And if we’ve helped you in some small way, would you consider leaving a comment or sharing this article?
- The definition of usability testing – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- 24 Usability Testing Tools by W Craig Tomlin
- Creating a Culture of Testing, Part 1 of 3- Leverage your employees to grow your business.
- The 7 Strategies to Internet Marketing Success
- Prevent Premature Evacuation of Your Website- Usability Testing as a Strategy
- Landing Page Optimization
- Make Your Website User-Centered- A tactical quick test.