User experience (UX) is a vital component of every successful website. A poorly designed website is disastrous for brand credibility. Users decide within seconds whether to stay on your site, or abandon for an alternative, based on design and experience.
In fact, a Forrester study found well-designed user interface could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to a 200% and a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%.
User testing, the process of watching and listening to users while they interact with your website, helps get UX right and allows you to stay ahead of your competition. User testing should occur before the project starts, during development phases, and after project completion. This exercise unearths site issues, like broken links, complicated navigation, or confusing checkout processes.
By identifying what works and what doesn’t early-on, you gain guidance, inspiration, validation, and discover areas of improvement, ultimately reducing development time and user friction. Ready to add user testing to your website development and maintenance strategy? Get started with our 5 tips for successful user experience testing.
Tip 1 – Test early
Test as early as possible, so you’re designing with the user in mind. Starting early allows the designer to see how the user interacts with the product and where they get stuck, offering ample time and resources to tweak and course correct. Getting this feedback early on saves you from extra headaches, higher billable hours, and stretched budgets.
Tip 2 – Recruit test subjects that represent your target audience persona/s
Is your website targeting women and moms between ages 28-45? If yes, seek out UX test subjects representing this audience. Getting real and honest feedback from users most likely to visit your website greatly improves quality. Solicit a large focus group of test subjects, so you capture likes, dislikes, and discrepancies across the audience.
Tip 3 – Fix the most important things first
Focus on fixing higher priority issues first. Don’t try to fix everything at once. If you improve more important features earlier in the process, you can retest for usability and feedback. The last thing you want to do is waste time trying to fix everything, and not have enough time for UX testing at later development phases.
Tip 4 – Ask open-ended questions
Use open-ended questions to prompt testers to elaborate on their feedback. One word or yes/no answers often do not dig deep enough to capture valuable insights.
In addition to asking open-ended questions, be careful to not use language that leads users to a specific answer you want to hear. Try to be as general as possible to facilitate organic discussion.
Tip 5 – Encourage users to think aloud during testing
Allowing users to speak and think aloud as they’re testing provides authentic feedback about how your website meets their expectations. Often, this unexpected feedback leads to actionable recommendations.
Improve Your Website with UX Testing
Follow our 5 tips for user experience testing to analyze what’s working on your website and what isn’t. When done right, often, and from the relevant persona, UX testing provides valuable insights, improves the product, and reduces wasted time, money, and resources.