A pro tip is to develop a lean prototype before you start developing your site. There are numerous user interface designing tools available to do so. While narrowing down the tools, it is very important to consider the following questions:
- How will this tool benefit you?
- How quickly can I start working with this tool?
- How affordable is this tool?
- How does this tool help you collaborate with other team members?
- How easily does this tool integrate with other user interface design tools?
- What operating systems support this tool?
3. Card sorting
If there is one usability technique that improves the overall organization of content on the webpage, it is card sorting. You can create your website navigation and hierarchy based on your user needs and the frequency of their visit to the specific pages.
This technique is literally what the term says. All you have to do is ask participants to sort cards with one core concept into clusters of one broad idea. Later a moderator can ask them the logic behind their action.
This method is a great way to utilize user feedback and takes a more data-driven decision in planning the site’s architecture.
The best part?
If you perform these tests regularly, you can later analyze the past data to find patterns of thinking of your audience and create content architecture that is more pre-cognitive to your users. All your hypothesis would be closer to reality.
However, you need to keep in mind that you cannot skip validating your tests at any point in time. Sometimes changes proposed to improve the overall user experience tend to fall flat creating negative impacts. What follows is a high churn rate.
A great way to defend this is to test on a relatively small, less responsive audience.
4. Moderated testing
There is a good reason why moderated tests are so popular amongst designers. You get detailed reports on the lives of your target audience. More so, you know their thinking patterns, web navigation style, and much more valuable information. But performing a moderated test requires resources: time and money both. This makes a moderated test preparation critical.
Firstly, consider creating an audience persona failing which can derail your test goals. What’s worse? You can even end up making delusional information about your target audience.
Secondly, is the list of questions and goals that you want to achieve with the test.
Finally, you should prepare your mindset for conducting the test. It is critical not to overexplain the test takers how to achieve. There are only three core elements that you need to relay to your test taker: what the website is about, what the test goals are, and what you want them to succeed. Creating a neutral environment ensures you have unbiased results.
Now you can dive into the execution of the test. The best time to conduct a moderated test is during the early days of the development of your website. As this is a qualitative test, you would not need a massive number of participants.
5. Unmoderated testing
Many design experts believe unmoderated testing is one of the best ways to capture quality feedback from real users. Unlike moderated tests, unmoderated tests let users react in an environment that is most close to real life. Plus, the costs of unmoderated testing are significantly lower.
Here participants are asked to complete tasks at their comfort, remotely. There is no moderator to control the environment. However, this quantitative test method demands a significant number of participants to drive insightful data to work on.
The only downside?
Like moderated tests, you would not get detailed reports on users’ psychographics. Finding the ‘why’ behind the action is difficult. You can only create a hypothesis as to why a user achieves a task a certain way. It is best to use an unmoderated test to complement your moderated tests at a later stage.
6. Customer feedback
Customer feedback is the Holy Grail of any user experience test. However, hearing your customer is an art that you need to learn. There are multiple ways to gain insights from your target audience. Reviews and comments on your website, reviews on 3rd party websites, feedback forms, surveys, emails, and phone calls are some of them. But only capturing the data won’t do any good. You need to put them to work.
Another great way of capturing high-quality data is to integrate customer feedback and polls with guerrilla testing, where you offer your test taker a small reward in exchange for their time.
Insights about your product may be gained at the earliest stages of development using this approach, which is perhaps the finest one. It aids in capturing the varying feelings and ideas your customers have about the product. To get the best results, you must prioritize tasks.
The only downside of guerilla testing?
Your test taker may not be the ideal target audience. This makes choosing the location of your tests critical.
7. Contextual inquiry
Contextual inquiry is one of the best passive user experience tests you can ever pull off. In this test, your development teams engage in an observation or interview process with participants to obtain user experience information.
Understanding the landscape in which your ideal user interacts with your website, personal preferences, and habits helps to create a rich user experience for your sites. This test is also valuable in checking user satisfaction with your products.
However, to make this test successful, you need to abide by a simple guideline: the least possible interruption to the users. The researcher conducting such a test must actively involve themselves in passive learning of the user behavior. Restraining the urge to guide your users to perform tasks is critical.
Plus, note-making during every session is essential. This will help you create detailed reports afterward.
User experience tests may seem daunting at first. However, it does not have to be. You only need to be strategic in your approach.
In doing so, make context your best friend. It is that one success factor that you cannot lose sight of. Anchoring your tests to context like the conversion funnel, you can use the above tips and techniques to guide your optimal user experience.
However, you need to realize that every customer is unique, and so is their behavior. This makes it impossible to optimize for every visitor. But following the 80/20 Pareto principle can drive the maximum benefits from your tests. Focus on the dominant traffic behavior instead of the extreme visitors.
Let us know in the Comments section below what tips would you implement to test your website user experience.
Atreyee Chowdhury is an instructional designer who works full-time and adores writing. With her carefully prepared material that is both instructive and interesting, she has assisted numerous small and medium-sized organizations in achieving their content marketing goals. With her spouse, parents, and siblings, she resides in Bangalore, India. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, trying new foods, traveling, and researching the most recent developments in content marketing and learning and development. You may connect with her on Linkedin or send her an email at email@example.com to discuss your needs for content marketing.