A visually appealing, effective website is a valuable way for businesses to establish credibility, communicate with their ideal customers, and, more importantly, convert visitors into buyers. Having a strong online presence is no longer optional in today’s digital world.
That said, the key to developing a successful website is to apply a user-centric approach. User-friendly design, also known as usability, is all about focusing the design and development process around the prospective user so you can build a product that’s not only efficient but also easy to use. Think of it as a way of making sure your site warmly welcomes your visitors in, offers them a glass of water to quench their thirst, and showing them around.
With that being said, it’s important that you use gtest and similar testing methods to determine the user-friendliness of your website to understand how your prospective or real users perceive and use your site. Execute usability testing at different stages of your design and development cycle to determine if users can intuitively and easily use the website. Whether you’re a prospective user of any digital product or website should be able to use it with ease and without frustration. Here’s how to test the user-friendliness of your website.
Traits of Userfriendliness
A user-friendly website ensures that your guests have an easy, effortless, and pleasant experience. It helps visitors stay on the site, boosts your conversions, increases your web traffic, improves your SEO rankings, and raises customer/user satisfaction. A user-friendly website combines four important aspects:
- Readability. Prospective users should be able to quickly scan and skim your website to find the information they need.
- Mobile-optimization. Users are increasingly using their mobile devices to access the internet and interact with websites today. As such, your website should have a responsive web design. According to Google, 72% of mobile users prefer visiting websites using their mobile devices and are five times more likely to leave a site if they find out it isn’t mobile-friendly.
- Load time. A user-friendly website should take no more than 4 to 6 seconds to load. Users are more likely to leave a website with poor load times for a competitor’s site instead.
- Navigation. Users should have an easy time recognizing and understanding the menu structures on the site. Simply put, everything on the site should be properly structured, conveniently positioned, logically flowing, highlighted in the right places, and easy to find.
Figure Out Your Metrics
First, you need to determine the specific metrics you want to measure because usability tests can be used to uncover a whole host of issues. Usability testing is often used to determine three main goals:
- Effectiveness. How can your prospective users accurately achieve their goals with the website?
- Efficiency. Refers to the amount of time, effort, or input required from the users to accurately achieve their goals.
- Satisfaction. What are the subjective thoughts of the prospective users regarding the relevance, ease of use, and level of comfort of the website?
You can test the user-friendliness of a website by measuring these three goals using various quantifiable usability metrics. You need to make sure you’re asking the right questions. For example, a proper question to ask if you’re measuring the level of satisfaction is: “How would you rate your experience with the site on a scale of 1 to 10?
Find Valid Participants and Make them Relaxed
On average, you need about five users for each usability test session. The key is to ensure the users you source are a valid approximation to the real users. The last thing you want is to lose a huge portion of your real users after rolling out a redesign that wasn’t validated with your unique user base. To get valid results with both qualitative and quantitative data make sure the participants are as close to the real users as possible.
It’s also important that you allow the participants to check the website in an environment that appears more familiar to them. The goal is to ensure they’re comfortable and relaxed so you can have valid results. Instead of assigning to participants complex tasks many require difficult solutions, start with broad, simple tasks that allow them to either use the search bar or scroll the pages and find something.
Make Sure the Entire Team is Involved
Teamwork and collaboration within a group trigger creativity and make progress easier within an organization. There’s no better way to overcome obstacles and improve the quality of work on a project than through teamwork. It’s, therefore, crucial that you involve the whole team in each and every stage of the usability test. Information should be passed first-hand to everyone involved including the participants and those interpreting the results.
Decide When, Where, and Who
Before you carry out your usability test, you’ll need to decide whether to do it remotely or in-person and whether or not to have a moderator. Remote usability testing allows you to test users in different geographical locations either by phone or over the internet. Digital tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and zoom, are helpful when it comes to remote tests. With in-person testing, the researcher has to be physically present and more resources are used than in remote testing.
Moderated testing, on the other hand, refers to having a researcher present to guide the users, manage the session (remotely or in-person), and answer questions. If you’re looking to have more control over the test, moderated testing is the ideal option. However, you may need a usability specialist to run a moderated test. Unmoderated testing is more flexible and less costly as it’s done without any direct supervision and users can perform the assigned tasks at their convenience.