For any business that intends to be successful online, optimal user experience is of crucial importance and usability testing helps them figure out what kind of success they can expect with their business or what kind of changes they need to make to become a successful online venture.
These usability tests are of varied lengths, ranging from a few minutes to an hour and it’s a very important that the users chosen for this process should not be connected to the project in any other way. You get the best reviews when someone who’s never seen the website undertakes the test. This sort of testing can be done in a physical location or remotely by creating a demo site for such users. To help the volunteers perform to the best of their abilities, it is important that they be provided with a questionnaire where they can easily tick off checkboxes or rate different elements of the overall design. For instance they could be given a five-star rating option to rate the navigational menu of the website.
This also lets developers see how users are exploring the website. If the users are following the patterns they are expected to follow then clearly the information architecture is well in its place. If the responses are completely unexpected and yet there’s a pattern emerging from person-to-person, then perhaps the design team can look into it and make the end product better. After all, that is the whole idea of prototyping – to create an early replica of the final design in order to get honest value feedback. Usability testing can also be used to test different variations of the same website. This is often referred to as A/B testing and can help massively in deciding upon the final design that should be used.
For minute assessment, a developer should not just rely on the manual feedback provided by the users but also employ backend techniques to assess patterns. For instance the technique of heat maps can be used to figure out where most users are clicking when they visit the website. This lets the developer figure out the hot zones and innovate how they can exploit this factor in the final design. An example of this could be changing the design to place your most important links were most clicks are recorded on certain page.
The role of the developer in this process is of an observer. He or she is nearly there to record and understand the browsing behavior of the user and not interfere in any way. Very often businesses also do usability testing multiple times before a website goes live. Cause at the end of the day, we have to remember that just because your website is attractive does not mean that it will be a huge success. It also needs to give out quality information that is easily found and user experience that is pleasing for customers.