Think Your Website is Shit-Hot? Then Put it to the Test.

When it Comes to Evaluating Your Website, You Can’t Rely on Your Own Judgement

usertesting

Your website is your baby. It’s your pride and joy. You’ve probably invested countless hours into adjusting the colour scheme, adding widgets and uploading content among other labour-intensive tasks.

Because you likely see your website a few times per week, at a certain point you can no longer view your website with fresh eyes, the way a new visitor would. You begin focusing on the small details at the expense of the bigger picture.

It becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees.

And that’s fine. I can’t imagine that when Steven Spielberg watches Saving Private Ryan, he sees the same movie you and I do. He probably remembers the behind-the-scene details like how his crew created fake war-torn European villages.. Or perhaps he has a vivid memory about how many outtakes Tom Hanks required to get a pivotal scene just right.

Given this inability to see your website in an unbiased manner, what should you do? You could approach your friends and family and ask them for an honest opinion about your website. But do you trust that they’ll give you the constructive criticism that you so desire? Chances are, their feedback will be overwhelmingly positive. After all, they are your friends and family. It’s their duty to support you.

An Introduction to UserTesting

A better alternative would be to ask a user experience (“UX”) professional to spend 15 minutes perusing your website. You could watch them peruse your website and get them to give you some running commentary about their immediate impressions. This is exactly what the service UserTesting allows you to do.

For a mere $49, you can hire a user experience professional (of a specified age, in a specified career, earning a specified amount) to answer a series of questions or follow a set of instructions when navigating your website. Better still, they video record the whole 15 minute experience, which means you’ll have a keepsake to refer back to when necessary.

So is your website really all that shit-hot? If it is, you can expect to receive positive feedback on usertesting.com (provided you use a sample size of 3 or larger). If not, take the criticism you receive in your stride, and get to work improving your website.

A Video Summary of UserTesting’s Service

An Example of a Set of Instructions you Could Provide

Below are a set of instructions and questions that I devised for a client of mine. They might act as a good starting point for you, should you decide to go ahead and use usertesting.com.

Review Test Details

URL

http://www.metavera.com/

Introduction

You are thinking of starting a small business in the transportation industry. You need the right tools to manage your business, and you have been told that Metavera’s products could help.

Tasks

  1. Take a look at this homepage. What does this company offer? Do you think they have a product that you might need?
  2. Based on this homepage’s design and imagery, what is your impression of the company? What do you like or dislike about this homepage?
  3. Please look at the homepage navigation bar. How intuitive and helpful is the navigation system, on a scale from 1-10? Is anything missing?
  4. Please go to the customers page http://www.metavera.com/customers/
    What do you think is the purpose of this page? Would you change it in any way, and if so, how?
  5. Please find the part of the website where you can see a demonstration of the product? Watch the video for 30 seconds. Do you think the video is effective?
  6. Please go to the car-sharing page http://www.metavera.com/products/features/car-sharing/
    What do you think this product does?
  7. What do you like or dislike about the car-sharing page? How would you find out what the benefits of the product are?
  8. Please go to the lock-n-track page http://www.metavera.com/products/lock-n-track-2/What do you think this product does? What do you like or dislike about this page?
  9. Please go to the partners page http://www.metavera.com/partners/convadis/What do you think is the purpose of this page?
  10. Using the website, how would you apply for a job at Metavera?
  11. Please go to the pdf page http://www.metavera.com/products/resources/pdfs/What are your impressions of this page? Is it obvious what the topic of each pdf is from the description?
  12. After reviewing this site, do you think that the company and products were easy to understand?
  13. Now that you’ve thoroughly reviewed Metavera’s website, if you had a magic wand, what would you improve?
  14. Now please go to this website http://www.invers.com/en-eu/What does this company offer?
  15. Based on this homepage’s design and imagery, what is your impression of the company? What do you like or dislike about this homepage? How would you describe its personality in one word?
  16. Please spend a few minutes navigating around the website. Are there any sections or features that you really like or dislike?
  17. Please go to this website http://www.rentcentric.com/What does this company offer?
  18. Based on this homepage’s design and imagery, what is your impression of the company? What do you like or dislike about this homepage? How would you describe its personality in one word?
  19. Please spend a few minutes navigating around the website. Are there any sections or features that you really like or dislike?

Questions After the Test

  1. Of the three websites you examined, which do you like best and why?
  2. After reviewing Metavera’s website, if you could change one thing, what would it be and why?
  3. How would you describe the personality of Metavera’s brand?

How do you review your website?

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