Getting into user testing can be daunting, especially if you feel like your organization’s website will benefit, or feel that it isn’t worth the hassle.
If we’re honest, I think another obstacle is it isn’t worth the potential embarrassment. Why let a stranger poke around on the premise of finding what’s wrong? It’s easier (and more comfortable) to look at reports with impersonal numbers about site traffic.
So, in hopes of spurring you on past that, I want to share with you two videos of strangers reviewing a version of our parent company’s site.
Free, Fast, and Easy Usability Testing
Peek, by UserTesting.com, offers a free 5(ish)-minute video of someone seeing your site for the first time, answering a few key questions, and generally verbalizing their reactions and opinions.
In my case, I was able to get two videos—one female and one male. Especially if you’re still a little unsure of the benefit, I suggest you watch these two videos, and get an idea of what this might look like for your site. Raw, in-the-moment feedback is very helpful, even if it’s not fully-formed (or informed).
Watching the Feedback
It’s quite enlightening to hear someone talk through your website, try to determine what it’s about, and explore. The two testers had some different viewpoints, but both were helpful.
The female tester did a great job of reading through things out loud and verbalizing her thoughts. She had some trouble finding a next step after reading through the home page (which I fully intend to be more like a landing page), but eventually found her way around and gave some great insight on the images.
The male tester seemed to really take issue with the big sentences at the top of the pages when they weren’t titles for the page. For the rest of it, he seemed to get around fairly easily.
Working with the Feedback
After watching each of these, I made changes! I made the menu bar “sticky”, and also set it at a smaller width, centered. Even though neither user pointed this out, I was able to see that their experience would’ve been enhanced by it. Discovering a potential improvement that isn’t directly discussed in a user test is a common benefit, and one of the reasons it’s worth the awkwardness.
I truly hope I’ve encouraged you to dip your toes in the water of user testing. With such an easy route to get started, and no money involved, I’m leaving you without an excuse. Go do it now!
- “The Fold” in Web Design, Explained Simply
- Get a Peek Into Your Site’s Usability