The website represents your brand and image; if your website is awful then you will turn everyone out. Imagine you are trying to sell a unique software with long list of features at competitive price, would you think anyone wouldn’t be concerned if he found few bugs on your website, he would think that the software may contains bugs too and makes him think twice of purchasing it, that’s he if didn’t leave your website on the spot. And also, testing the website is not about the technical part, it’s about everything.
Bootstrapping is not an excuse for not testing your website or software, if you are the website owner or project manager, you need to begin testing the website as soon as you have something viable, it can be while doing the sitemap, wireframes/storyboard, design, build, or even after launch. The usability testing of a website, blog, or software comes in 7 straight forward steps:
- Set Your Objectives: You need to identify what you want to learn from the testing process. Each stage has its own testing objectives and the business purpose of the website makes a big difference.
- Get Ready: Prepare the list of tasks for the test user to complete. The task could be purchase your software, fill in inquiry form, get your contact details, etc…
- Pick A Place like Hawaii: Choose a testing placing whereby no interruption can happen while you’re conducting it.
- Make Your Pick: Select a handful test users from your target audience and don’t let them feel that you are engaged emotionally with the website, so they can express their feelings freely. Also, avoid picking your friends, they might be bias.
- The Moment of Truth: Give each test user the task to complete and make sure he understands it. Don’t give him orders or directions on how to navigate the website even if he was confused or frustrated. The user will start navigating the site trying to find the best way to accomplish the task and they will try their best to succeed.
- Be Like UN Soldier: Like the United Nations, you have to observe only and take notes of the incidences that happen, what troubles the user faced, where the user got confused, what the user found missing, what the user’s journey was through the task, and listen to what the user is complaining about. Again, don’t give directions, observe only.
- Just like Obama: His hope for change comes along execution on correcting faults. If you are hoping to get a competent website, you need to change of what users found irritating or confusing, if you found some users are asking to group a button with the rest or putting it somewhere else, you need to take it seriously and change it from the existing place. Keep on changing based on the feedback, changing for the better keeps your future user-experience on the website more enjoyable and effective.
And don’t just do the above once, keep it a continuous process. The above usability testing is very human and can cost you for the 5 test users a cup of coffee or AED 50 voucher each, you can use several free usability testing sites as well, they are cool and meet your bootstrapping case.