Usability testing (usability audit) in Web Design
Usability is an indicator of the usability of various sites and with the help of so-called usability testing (usability audit), this indicator can be estimated. Usability testing can be carried out both at the stage of site development, and throughout the entire life cycle of the site.
What is usability testing (usability audit)
The usability audit helps to find out if a website needs a redesign or redesign of a user interface. Such an audit is necessary for all sites, but it is especially shown to online stores since this type of site works “directly” with potential customers. For online stores, a usability audit helps to solve the following problems:
Find out why sales are lower than expected
determine at what stage of interaction visitors most often have problems;
work out a solution to the identified problems.
Before conducting a usability audit of an online store, and of any other type of site, you must first identify its target audience as specifically as possible. To do this, usually make up a portrait of a typical user of the site, which reflects:
age and financial situation;
interests and intrinsic behavior;
level of user skills.
It can be quality and comparative. With high-quality usability testing, we study the behavior and actions of users when working with the tested site, and with the comparative usability of the users when working with multiple sites at once: the tested and its competitors.
The necessary equipment for the usability of testing the site most often includes the user’s own computer with Internet access, as well as recording (registering) equipment for recording the respondent’s actions and behavior during testing. As such equipment, usually camcorders or voice recorders are used; a web camera may still be suitable for this purpose (it is necessary to record the data stream transmitted by the camera).
Recently, eye-tracking technology has been used to conduct usability tests, a technology that allows you to determine how and where the user’s gaze moves on the page of a site. To use this technology, you need a special eye tracker (tracker) device: using infrared rays, this device fixes the position of the eyes when viewing and then the received data is applied to special maps. The technology of eye-tracking allows you to get very accurate data, but it is quite expensive.
To conduct a usability audit, a certain number of respondents should be selected (5-8 will be enough), corresponding to the portrait of a typical user of the site, to prepare the equipment. It is also necessary to correctly formulate the task for the respondents and make a scenario of their interaction with the tested sites. In addition, a list of metrics should be determined by which the analysis of the data collected during testing will be carried out.
During usability testing, it is important to let respondents understand that the site is being checked, and not they themselves, so you don’t need to be afraid to make any mistake or stupidity. When testing, respondents must necessarily pronounce their comments, emotions when interacting with the site, because this also characterizes the level of comfort of working with the site: if the respondent accompanies his actions with dissatisfied comments or is angry, this may indicate that using the site gives him great inconvenience.
The usability audit does not end simply by fixing data on identified problems or errors in the site. After collecting the data, the turn of analysis begins – perhaps the most difficult stage in all testing. Usability specialists should study all the data obtained, systematize it and draw conclusions on their basis about whether the site requires refinement or redesign.
Separately, usability testing is carried out by companies specializing in this area. Usability audits are often carried out by web companies when developing or redesigning sites. In particular, the web design Company GCC MARKETING during the development of sites, as well as the development of web design or website redesign uses usability analysis data to create solutions that fully comply with modern usability requirements.