User Testing Websites

Letizia Zappa
By Letizia Zappa

User testing may be the most complete way to evaluate your website efficacy. In this article we will focus on test scenarios and the best questions you can use to get the most insightful customer feedback.

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User testing of websites

What is user testing of websites?

User testing is a quick way to discover problems but also good things about your website. By giving potential users a task to fulfill on your website and then by observing their reactions, you can learn a lot.

What is the test scenario?

A test scenario consists of asking participants to use the website as if they were real users and achieve a specific task (goal) you set for them.

For example, let’s say you are testing MagicBank.com, an online banking website. Then you may present this type of scenario to participants:

“You are a client of MagicBank.com and you want to know how much you spent during the last month. You need to access and download your monthly balance statement”.

As you may have noticed, scenarios are made of two things:

  1. A realistic situation: user wants to know how much she spent
  2. A task: user needs to access monthly balance and download it

Let’s take another example. You need to test FoodLove.com, a food order, and delivery website. Then a scenario for the participant could be:

“You are starving for food so you want to order a pizza from the nearest pizzeria in town.”

As you may have noticed, scenarios are made of two things:

  1. A realistic situation: user wants to know how much she spent- the user is starving
  2. A task: user needs to access monthly balance and download it -user needs to find the nearest pizzeria and order a pizza.

What is a website tester?

Website testers are people who decide to take part in website tests. Mind that there are a number of online softwares available to test websites and apps, hence these individuals may be exclusively contacted online. Even though no technical or special knowledge is required to them, websites often also pay these participants.

What are the different types of user testing?

  1. Moderated user testing: the classic user testing type. In this case, the user sits next to the moderator who introduces the scenario, the task and asks the participant questions while taking notes. Observing the user in the moment allows the moderator to ask insightful questions and grasp really important behavioral details.
  2. Unmoderated user testing: thanks to screen sharing software and web cameras, it is possible to conduct user tests also with testers staying elsewhere. This method saves time and money of course. The participant can stay at home, connect to her computer and take the test, the only constriction is time. Moderator and participant need to be connected at the same time as they need to communicate real time.
  3. Unmoderated user testing: this type sees the tester undergoing the test without any live support or supervision. It is the cheapest and most effortless of all methods. The tester can access and take the test whenever it suits her the best and from anywhere. In this type of testing, it is possible to record the participant test or her clicks on the screen, in order to give observers more insights into the test.

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What are the best questions for user testing of a website?

We will now use again our FoodLove.com as example to give you ideas about typical user testing questions.

  1. How easy was it to use the filter function to find all pizzerias in town?
  2. Was the menu easy to scroll?
  3. Was the search bar function useful to find your zip code?
  4. On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely would you recommend this website to a friend/colleague?
  5. Did you find the website trustworthy?

Clearly, different websites answer to different needs. Please remember though that there are  some golden rules to always remember in user testing:

  • Use simple words. Words that any average user can understand.
  • Be specific. Refer to specific buttons, pages etc.
  • Remember your objectives. Every question must bring you closer to your research objectives.
  • Do not ask leading questions. Ever.
  • Don’t ask participants for solutions. That’s not their job.

Free online website testing tool

UserReport is a free online tool. UserReport is a type of unmoderated user testing you can implement for free anytime you want on your website. Once your UserReport survey is active on your website, you will be able to ask real users their feedback on any area and on any aspect.

You will also be able to segment your audience and understand what matters the most to each type of user.

Thanks to UserReport integration with Google Analytics you will also be able to match user tests with navigation data and behavior.

Thanks to this you will be able to test your website and collect really insightful answers.

UserReport is free, easy to implement on your website and also features the “Feedback Forum” a cool tool to collect users’ ideas and possible bugs.

Get started testing your website!

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