Usability testing is often thought of as a method for finding flaws in a website or application, but it also reveals what works. In a usability test, people who are representative of the target audience are given realistic tasks to perform with the website, and what they do and what they say are observed by a research team.
By learning about how your customers think and what they want, you can shape your website to better meet their needs. Without seeing or hearing actual customers, you may be depending on lucky guesses about what will appeal to them.
A usability test can identify problems that annoy and discourage website users—problems that are often connected to low conversion rates or sales. These problems can be fixed, but only after they are identified by observing people using the website.
Improving the usability of your website can reduce help desk or customer call center costs and give you a competitive edge in the market. Making websites that are easier to use shows that you value your customers and are looking out for them. This is a great way to build good and long-term relationships with your customers.
We start by working with you to understand your research objectives, identify your target audience and determine which assets will be evaluated by participants (e.g., prototype, live website or application, etc.).
Your assigned research team will then develop a test plan, which includes the task scenarios and moderator questions that will be used to ensure all necessary feedback is gathered during the test sessions.
In parallel, Usability Sciences’ in-house recruiting team will screen and schedule participants who meet your target audience.
One-on-one test sessions (either 60 or 90 minutes long) are conducted over several consecutive days. During the test sessions, participants perform defined tasks and are asked questions about what they think about the website or application.
After testing is complete, the results are analyzed and compiled into a report, which contains actionable recommendations for fixing the observed issues with the website or application.
Making your website easier to use benefits not only users, but also your company: which item would customers select, one that is effortless to use, or one that creates extra work and hassle?
In a usability test, you will see people using your website in realistic situations, as well as hear them describe their experience in their own words. You may see them do unexpected actions or hear suggestions for new features; most importantly, you will get insights into how your users think.
Usability testing reveals information about your users that web analytics and surveys are unable to capture, because the moderator can probe each user further on issues or statements that come up in the course of each session. The line of questioning can be tailored for each user’s individual way of using the website; this way you can go deeper into a user’s thought process, rather than having to guess. You’ll get to know your customers better through usability testing.
Usability testing will also help you answer the following questions:
Is there anything in the website that is unclear or confusing?
Would users prefer the website to look or behave differently?
Which features are of highest value to your target customers?
Are there any features or content missing from the website?
Are user expectations different than the intended functionality?
Usability tests come in many flavors, and Usability Sciences offers a variety of types to meet your specific need:
Is Your Research Leaving You Battle Weary?: Maybe your go-to weapon is the usability test. Or maybe you just cannot resist focus group fireworks. But do you know when you should lock and load on something a little different? In this webinar, we take a look at various research methodologies to determine which one will effectively tackle your burning questions.
Lights, Camera, Interaction: Learn the best ways to present interactive elements such as Flash and video on your website. We cover best practices such as video controls and ideal page placement, and how incorporating each element may impact the usability of the website.
Best Practices for Forms: Forms are an integral part of many online activities, including checkout and registration. We cover best practices such as how to indicate required information, present form fields, incorporate form validation and handle multi-page forms.
Product Comparison Page Best Practices: Comparison tables can be an effective tool for users when determining which product meets their needs. We cover the elements of an effective comparison table, including: which information to include, filtering options, scalability and other essential options.
Effective Confirmation Page Strategies: Ensure your users are confident that they have successfully emailed an article, printed a page, added items to a wish list or placed orders by informing them with an effective confirmation page.
Creating an Effective Product Page: When shopping online, users must rely on their visual impressions of a product and the information provided by the retailer to determine whether it meets their needs. We cover ways to improve product presentation: presenting product options, optimal page layout and navigation options.
“From beginning to end, everyone I interacted with from Usability Sciences was professional and thorough. I was impressed with the testing technology, the methodology and especially the team that led the project. This is one of the most impactful pieces of research I have ever delivered to my team. Thank you!”
-Kevin King, Senior Director of Digital Media, A&E Television Networks