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DIY Website Usability Testing


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Slides from a presentation I gave at WordCamp Boulder 2010. It's all about no-excuse usability testing - how to do it yourself and on the cheap. Because, if it's worth putting on the web, it's worth testing.

Now, super-sized with NOTES!!

Published in: Design

DIY Website Usability Testing

  1. 1. DIY USABILITY TESTING or “The Legend of the Untested Website” A tale of pain and lost conversions S t eve! wi th leverCu bed @C
  2. 2. Web Usability: WHAT? What is website usability?
  3. 3. Usability: How well we can use and learn a product in order to achieve a particular goal, and how satisfied we are with the process. The “technical” definition… *yawn*
  4. 4. Let me explain: On every website, there are obstacles between users and their goal.
  5. 5. The goal of good usability is to remove those obstacles.
  6. 6. + = $ Because Users + Goals = More Money…
  7. 7. + = …and a happier world.
  8. 8. WHAT? Some usability mistakes are obvious…
  9. 9. WHAT? …some seem like a good idea at the time, but in practice are just confusing.
  10. 10. WHAT? Any guesses as to what business this company is in? Check out their site:
  11. 11. WHAT? Just TRY to navigate around this website:
  12. 12. WHAT? How long will it take you to find the listing of categories on this website? Or, what Reddit even is?
  13. 13. This site is a travesty. There are so many problems, I don’t know where to start
  14. 14. Web Usability: WHY? So, why bother with user testing at all? “I built the site, it makes sense to me!!”
  15. 15. WHY? We think we know our users, but we don’t.
  16. 16. WHY? We think people use our sites like this…
  17. 17. WHY? …when they really use them like this.
  18. 18. “ Know the user, and know you are not the user ” - Arnie Lund
  19. 19. WHY? Modern retail has learned a lot from customer research. We feel bad if we leave a grocery store WITHOUT buying something!
  20. 20. WHY? Ecommerce Research: 58% Cart Abandonment - Source: Inc. Magazine, 2009 But we still have a lot to learn on the web.
  21. 21. WHY? Average 83% increase! - Source: The Nielsen Norman Group, 2008 Improved Usability Improving nothing but the usability of a website can have MASSIVE implications.
  22. 22. WHY? “ If they can't use it, they won't. - Me ”
  23. 23. WHY? Our users aren’t stupid! It’s not their fault.
  24. 24. WHY? To reach them and design for them, we need to understand them.
  25. 25. Web Usability: HOW?
  26. 26. HOW? Usability Labs Most people think of big expensive usability labs.
  27. 27. HOW? Eye Tracking Some people love the idea of eye tracking.
  28. 28. HOW? Heat Maps Eye tracking produces Heat Maps (not always as useful as you’d think)
  29. 29. HOW? Gaze Maps Gaze Maps show you in which order people looked at things.
  30. 30. HOW? DIY = No-Excuse Usability Testing But we’re going to talk about doing it yourself. On the cheap. Because, if it’s worth putting on the web, it’s worth testing.
  31. 31. HOW? In-Person Testing THE book about DIY In-Person Usability Testing “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” by Steve Krug
  32. 32. HOW? In-Person Tools : Mac These applications video record the user, their screen, and where they click for later review.
  33. 33. HOW? In-Person Tools : Windows These applications video record the user, their screen, and where they click for later review.
  34. 34. HOW? In-Person Testing THE book about DIY Remote Usability Testing “Remote Research” by Nate Bolt and Tony Tulathimutte
  35. 35. HOW? Remote Testing Tools : Automated Automated tools find users for you based on demographics.
  36. 36. HOW? Remote Testing Tools : Automated Automated tools find users for you based on demographics.
  37. 37. HOW? Remote Testing Tools : BYOU You have to “BYOU” (Bring Your Own Users), but they run the test.
  38. 38. HOW? Remote Testing Tools : BYOU You have to “BYOU” (Bring Your Own Users), but they run the test.
  39. 39. HOW? When do we test? Answer: in every stage of the project.
  40. 40. HOW? Before design/redesign Test competitors’ sites …to find best practices, what users love, what they hate. Just looking for generalities.
  41. 41. HOW? Before design/redesign Test the current site …to find what to keep and what to throw out. You may find that you don’t need a full redesign, just a realignment!
  42. 42. HOW? During design Wireframes The earlier you test, the easier and cheaper it is to make changes.
  43. 43. HOW? During design Paper Prototypes Yes, pointing at a piece of paper WILL get you actionable results.
  44. 44. HOW? During design Working prototypes If you have working prototypes, test them.
  45. 45. HOW? Post design Actual website And, of course, ALWAYS test the final website BEFORE launching it.
  46. 46. HOW? What you need: • 3-5 people • 3-5 task-based scenarios • 30-50 min each • Moderator and note-taker (or video) • Gift: $50-$75 (Amazon gift card)
  47. 47. HOW? Where to find people • Ask the client for sources • Friends and family • Co-workers • Craigslist “gigs” section
  48. 48. HOW? Tell the user… • “We’re testing the WEBSITE, not you” • “Think out loud as much as possible” • “Be brutally honest - we need your help!”
  49. 49. HOW? You, the moderator… • Don’t help them complete tasks • Ask “Why” and “What are you thinking” • Answer questions with questions
  50. 50. Web Usability: WHAT NOW? Okay, I’ve done all the testing, NOW what do I do?
  51. 51. WHAT NOW? Post-Testing: • Analyze the data • Look for trends • Change the big problems • Rinse and repeat
  52. 52. WHAT NOW? Do the changes HAVE to be… BIG?
  53. 53. WHAT NOW? NO 200% increase in signups 37 Signals famously changed their button from “Free Trial” to “See Plans and Pricing” (based on testing) for a massive increase.
  54. 54. WHAT NOW? Do the changes HAVE to be… EXPEN$IVE?
  55. 55. WHAT NOW? NO Especially if you TEST AT THE BEGINNING I repeat: ESPECIALLY if you test at the BEGINNING!
  56. 56. WHAT NOW? Microsoft’s vs. $80 million increased ad revenue - Source: Paul Ray, UX Manager, Bing changed their link results from light blue to dark blue (based on testing) for a MASSIVE increase in revenue. That’s a 5 minute fix.
  57. 57. WHAT NOW? You no longer have an excuse… TEST IT!
  58. 58. Steve Martin @CleverCubed 970-481-9682