Website Usability Testing With Semalt 


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Meaning and Importance of Website Usability 
  3. Meaning and Importance of Website Evaluation
  4. How to Test Website Usability
  5. Conclusion

Introduction  



Take a step back and become the user of a website. What would you like to see? Would you prefer a cluttered homepage or one that's orderly? Would you like to pause, staring at your screen for minutes looking for the search bar or would you like it if what you wanted was easy to find? Would you rather have a blank but beautiful homepage or one that's valuable and also appealing? Whatever it is you choose is what your website SHOULD be looking like. It should not be cluttered, it should be easy to navigate through and of course, still contain vital information. On a vague piece of paper, this is website usability - how usable your website is and this is the criteria for whether or not you'll be counting massive incoming traffic & sales or you will have a dead, desert-like website. Read below to know more about website usability, why it is important, and how to evaluate your website for audience usability. 

Meaning and Importance of Website Usability

In the simplest form, website usability is the measure of how much a user can navigate through your website. If a user finds it even a little bit difficult or gets frustrated while on your web page, then your website usability score is low. Usability dials down to how readable the fonts are, the arrangement of the site itself, the color balance, the load speed of the website, the quality of your website's content, and everything in between.

But in a more technical definition - one that sums up all aspects of the concept, usability is the totality of a website's errors, user satisfaction, efficiency, memorability, and learnability. 'Errors' refer to the sum of the mistakes that a user can make while on your site and how easy it is to recover from those mistakes. A good example of this is clicking on a button that wasn't intended. How quickly can the user go back to the previous page? User satisfaction sums up the level of enjoyment your customers feel while on your site while efficiency refers to how easy it is for a returning user to navigate through your site. Memorability is how impacting your site is to a user such that he or she comes back to use your website even after a long while. Then learnability is how easy it is for a first-time user to navigate through your site. A combination of all of these rates your website's usability score. 

Why is it so important? The main reason you need to be aware of your website's usability is that it determines your conversion rate. No doubt, if you have your SEO on track, you would get people to click on your link but when they enter your site, it is your website's usability level that'll tell if they will stay, click a few more pages, or leave right away. Imagine opening a website that has a very tiny deep blue font with a lot of text and no pictures on a black background, what would you do next? 

Meaning and Importance of Website Evaluation 

The second aspect of this guide is website evaluation and it simply means the process of testing a website for certain metrics - in this case, the website's usability. Most times, website evaluation involves a webmaster asking the users what they like and what they find challenging. Some factors would be measured to determine how usable a website is and hence called website evaluation. Another term that can be used to refer to this is website testing. 

The factors to look for when evaluating a website include the website's appearance, clarity of the information provided, timeliness of completing a task (a subscription form, a purchase, etc.), ease of carrying out a task on the website (making an order, making a comment, sharing a blog post, making account changes, etc.), and the ease of website navigation. But the elements to truly help tell of these factors are in place are conversion rate (the rate at which first-time users keep coming back as return users), time on site (the measure of time a user spends on your website before leaving), retention (the number of times a returning user keeps coming back), and click-through rate (the percentage of people that take an action on your site versus the total number of people that found your website's URL).

But why is it important to evaluate your website? The answer is simple. If you don't test to see how much your website is succeeding, you might be careless of the fact that the website is failing. When you constantly check, you can be aware of any decline before it becomes too serious. It also helps you to know what you need to adjust to attain maximum website usability. Other important of website evaluation or website usability testing include:
  1. Validate a Test Product: When you test your website's usability, you would also be able to test whether or not a prototype will sell before locking in a product. Not only will you save cost and resources, but your users will also feel in charge of your decisions. 
  2. Confirm a Theory: You can also use website evaluation to confirm a doubt about your website. For instance, if you are unsure about two homepage designs, conduct a website usability test and you will be able to make an informed decision in no time. 
  3. Catch Errors Young: By evaluating your website, you can cite errors in your website as quickly as possible (sometimes, even before your user notices them).
  4. Provide a Better User Experience: At the end of the day, you would end up with a better website. One that is easy to navigate through, satisfying, and valuable. 

How to Test Website Usability 


Now that you are aware of the terms involved and their importance, how can you test your website's usability rate? The following are things that you need to do to conduct a relevant website evaluation.
  1. Determine what you want to measure: This is an essential part of the step and the first one at that because attempting to measure all actions on your website can become cumbersome, ineffective, and bulky. Therefore, determine the part of your website that you suspect users find challenging. This can be the login/sign-up process, the steps to making an order, and so on. Also, note that the test should always begin from the homepage or your website's set primary landing page.
  2. Set a success goal for yourself: The success goals should be based on the type of test that is to be conducted. For instance, if the test is to be done during the process of sign-up, then you can allocate a time limit for every step. You can also use the level of error in each field as an indicator. The basis for your success goal should be how well you can operate your website.  
  3. Find and ask representative users to test the tasks: The next thing you should do is find some people willing to test the process on a measurable platform. You can either do this on-site to measure their excitement and eagerness or through your website. Other test methods are hallway testing (random users to help test the website), remote testing (test conducted across different countries of the world), expert review (asking an expert to use your website and then give an honest review on experience), paper prototype (testing of the website's interface on a paper-based prototype), questionnaires and interview (an in-person interview that involves asking and answering of direct questions), automated usability evaluation (using an automated tool to test a website's functionality), and so on. Whatever method you choose, you only need to ask these representatives to take on the process from the starting page to the last.  
  4. Observe their actions: While the test is ongoing, ensure to measure their speed, efficiency (for old-time users), learnability (for new users), and satisfaction. If the test involves a one-on-one approach, check also for the users' level of excitement while using your website.
  5. Summarize: Finally, put together your scores and set them side by side with your success goal. That would determine if your website is or isn't used enough by the average use.

Conclusion

Website usability is not rocket science but at the same time, it is not alarming if many webmasters don't know how to go about improving their website's usability score. While it is easy to conduct the test, it takes someone who knows about websites and SEO to know what website elements need to be changed for a better website usability score.  With that said, it would be better if you'd outsource your website to a professional like Semalt to help improve your website's interface, content, font, and other metrics that make the website more usable. Luckily, Semalt also helps with website evaluation and gives timely reports, making the entire process of having a website stress-free. 

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