Website usability refers to the ease with which target users
are able to access a website, and how easily its web pages can be navigated.
Whether one is redesigning an old website or building a new one, testing for
usability is a vital part of the design process, and involves monitoring how
selected users complete tasks on the website, to get the idea of how
prospective users will interact with the site. Finding out what makes your
website work best for users not only is a success to you as a designer but
allows your users a sense of accomplishment to be able to use a website with
ease will encourage them to use your site again and again. While observing a
real user use your site, gives a good idea of how users interact with your
site, there are several tools also to measure how your users experience your
Using a survey, as a research tool is a great way to gauge
your customers. A survey is a set of questions used to access and collect
opinions, preferences, and attitudes of users. With an online survey, a company
is able to collect data from broad – sometimes remote, users, quickly and usually
for free or at low cost, compared to traditional surveys. Data received from
the survey are collected, and depending on the tool, automatically analyzed,
which can then be read up on the dashboards for user experience studies.
Unfortunately, what users say don’t often totally coincide
with what they do, hence the disparities in results when survey tool data are
compared with those from live usability tests. Poorly worded questions can
influence survey takers’ responses, so also is the length of survey know to be
an issue, as long surveys are known to be a turnoff for test takers.
Google Analytics and heat maps are some other means of
accessing how users interact with websites. Google Analytics for one is known
to tell what users are clicking, bouncing off, and converting, and the rate at
which each of such activities is performed. These tools collect a good data on
user experience. So that whenever there are discrepancies in certain
activities, they can be prioritized and worked on accordingly.
In conclusion, the purpose of any ‘website usability
testing’ exercise is to gain insights on the website usage patterns and
preferences of users. Keeping up-to-date on the visitors’ experiences is a task
to be taken seriously as it goes a long way to determining sites functionality
and therefore, the success of the company. Some tools may work better than
others, but using more than one can really help narrow down what is working
best for you and your customers using the site.