A great website is both beautiful and functional. While it’s fairly straightforward for a web design professional to know how good a website looks, it can be harder for them to have an accurate grasp of how functional it might be. Working on a project can make you intimately familiar with how it works, and more likely to miss the little issues that a newcomer might have when trying to access and use your site.
This is why web design professionals will often make use of usability tests. These tests can help uncover hidden problems or deficiencies with a website, and offer a great way to gain valuable insight into ways a project can improve.
Here’s a look at how these tests work.
Usability Tests Will Help You Observe Your Site Being Used
Usability tests involve giving a different person access to the website you have been working on and seeing how easily they are able to use it. Whether the website is just meant to be informational or is meant to get users to buy or sign up for something, a usability test will allow you to evaluate how quickly and easily users are able to get what they want from your site.
Do visitors somehow get lost navigating the website? Is there something unclear about the information they need to enter? Through usability testing, all sorts of issues that you might never imagine can come to light, making the process incredibly valuable to the work that you do. Employ usability testing when you become a web designer and you will have a great chance of building very user-friendly sites.
Testing to the Next Level? Head to the Internet
There are a couple of ways to try out usability testing. You could ask someone you know—and who might be interested in what the site offers—to try it out, as this would give you an idea of how your target audience might respond to the site. You could also ask someone who you know is not comfortable or experienced with computers, as this would let you figure out how accessible the site is to people with the most basic computer skills.
To take the process to the next level, though, you can turn to online services like What Users Do, User Zoom, or other similar products. With these, one or more individual users will be hired to test out your website. These will provide you with a report on how the test went, along with suggestions for potential changes. Some services even provide you with a video of the tester going through your site, allowing you to see for yourself just what they did. Using these services is a great way to formalize the testing process, and to acquire great material to refer to when revising your site.
Remember That Usability Does Not Always Equal Popularity
A functional website may not always end up being used by many people. It’s unfortunate, but a reality of the world of website creation. For that reason, don’t look to usability testing to see how much people like the website you’ve designed, or whether you can expect visitors to return again and again once it is launched. The goal with this step of the process is to determine whether the website is functional and accessible, nothing more.
Of course, attending a good web designer program will ensure that you have many other talents that can help you build a site that will attract users. These include layout, colour selection, and other elements of design—knowledge that can contribute to getting users to return. By the end of your training, expect to have mastered both the art of designing an attractive website and the science of testing it for ease of use.
Contact Academy of Learning Career College to get started!