User testing helps us work out where a website is leaking sales and failing users.
Our main goals when we’re user testing are to establish if users understand the value proposition and identify usability concerns which will need to be addressed to maximise sales and improve efficiency, productivity and end-user satisfaction.
Our usability testing objectives are:
- To determine design inconsistencies and usability problems including navigation errors (failure to locate pages, excessive keystrokes to complete a function, failure to follow the most efficient user journey), presentation errors (failure to locate and properly act upon desired information, selection errors due to labelling ambiguities, misunderstanding copy and imagery), and control usage problems (improper toolbar, navigation or call to action usage)
- To exercise the website under controlled test conditions with representative users to assess whether usability goals relating to an effective, efficient and well-received user interface have been achieved
- To establish baseline user performance and user-satisfaction levels of the user interface for future usability evaluations
Lab-based user testing
Participants undertake the research in a research lab. The participant’s interaction with the website is monitored by the facilitator who is seated in the same room. Note takers and data loggers monitor the sessions in an observation room. The facilitator asks the participant to think aloud so that a verbal record exists of their interaction with the website.
Note takers and data loggers observe and describe the participants’ behaviour, comments, and actions and the test sessions are recorded for review afterwards.
Sometimes we use eye-tracking equipment so we can record exactly where the participant is looking in order to understand which elements of the website are being ignored or missed.
Pros of lab-based user testing
Lab-based user testing provides us with the opportunity to delve deeper because we can ask probing questions when we hear what the participant is thinking and feeling. This isn’t possible with unmoderated user testing. We can use eye-tracking software in a lab – this isn’t possible when we undertake remote testing.
Cons of lab-based user testing
Getting participants to come to a lab for an hour can sometimes be challenging, depending on the type of people we need to talk to.
The cost per user for lab-based testing is usually higher than for remote user testing.
Remote user testing
The participant undertakes the research at home or in their office, either with a remote moderator or without. The participant is asked to consider a scenario and complete a series of tasks on a website. The participant is then asked to think aloud as they complete the tasks and their screen and voice are recorded for review later.
Pros of remote user testing
Remote user testing is usually cheaper per user than lab-based testing. It’s usually easier to get people to agree to be participants if they don’t need to travel to a lab to take part. The participant can feel more relaxed and exhibit more natural behaviours because they are in a familiar environment.
Cons of remote user testing
The participant uses their own computer and a system is used so that the research can take place and be recorded. This can sometimes present technical difficulties. We can’t ask the participant ad hoc questions based on their responses to delve deeper into their thought patterns when undertaking unmoderated user testing.
User testing reporting
Once the analysis is complete, we create a report which includes the research findings and our recommendations. The recommendations will be prioritised to help you decide what to implement and when.