Whether you have just launched your site or it has been online for a few years now, it is possible for the Internaut to confront certain difficulties you would never have thought of. Usability tests prove to be essential to the improvement of the Website's initial comprehension as well as to the decrease of its level of difficulty. They also enable you to develop a highly ergonomic site.
Usability tests are among techniques enabling you to assess your Website's ergonomy and to test its different aspects. Contrary to certain myths, this simple and efficient observation technique is in fact very affordable. Furthermore, usability tests are essential to the improvement of a Website's performances as well as to the consumer's satisfaction.
The technique consists in analyzing data gathered by observing an Internaut's way of using the site according to precise tasks. Carried out at the right time using precise methodology, usability tests enable you to identify the true problems regarding a site's use that can put a break on the buying process or bring the discouraged consumer to abandon the process without having completed the predefined click-stream. This will directly affect the conversion rate.
According to a study carried out by Jacob Nielsen, usability tests completed on a site increase learnability by 100 %, Website efficiency by 25 % and divide by more than 5 the number of mistakes made.
You will be able to:
- Measure the necessary efforts a user must put in to carry out a specific task;
- Identify the difficulties encountered, the dead ends as well as moments of hesitation;
- Determine the services liked and disliked by the user as well as his general level of satisfaction;
- Bring improvements rapidly;
- Guarantee a better quality experience;
- Optimize your Website traffic and increase its profitability.
- First of all, it is important to know your target clientele well and to choose users whose profile matches that of an Internaut susceptible of visiting your site.
In Nielsen's opinion, a sampling of 5 people is enough to reveal 85 % of usability problems. If you would like to assess more than 1 aspect, 3 samplings of 5 people will always be more efficient than one test carried out on a sampling of 15 people. You will therefore save time and money.
- Secondly, you must confide a series of tasks to the users. It is important to choose real life situations and to assign real tasks, i.e., to have them fill out a form or purchase a product. You can also present them with a scenario.
- Finally, a facilitator will observe the users' behavior one by one. He will note their reactions, the moves completed more easily than others as well as the difficulties or moments of hesitation Internauts are confronted with. To obtain more conclusive results, it is important to encourage the Internaut to think aloud in order to be able to identify his questioning as well as the steps of his decision making. During the observation, it is important to establish a trust relationship so that the subject does not try to mask his perplexity. Finally, the subject must be left to himself during the observation, without ever receiving help or guidance.
A Few Suggestions
- Conduct a pretest with the members of your team or with your close relatives in order to ensure the test and assessment elements' validity.
- Choose real users to complete the test rather than employees that already know how the site works.
- Give the Internaut a moment to browse through the site and to familiarize himself with it.
- Write a report for future analysis of the results. Write down all the user's quotes, expressions and reactions with concision.
Finally, like every evaluation technique, usability tests are not without limits. In fact, under observation, the Internaut will try to analyze the problem he is confronted with. However, in real life, he would have quickly abandoned and left the site. You must therefore always take this information into consideration when analyzing the results.