If you’re having a new website created, whether it’s a brand new site or a revamp of your current one, remember what you want it for!

  • It’s not for you to show-off your technical wizardry or wealth of knowledge (or at least not primarily)
  • It’s not for your web designer to demonstrate their graphic skills
  • It’s not for your copywriter to unleash their command of language
  • It’s for that mystical creature, your customer.

Of course, you want to display what you’re offering, but it must be in a way the makes life easy for your potential customer.  That means you must make it easy for them to find what they want, easily and without any head-scratching or having to go on a treasure hunt through your menus.

Is your website user-friendly?

If you are confidently nodding and making affirmative noises, did you actually test it on real customers?  If so, then brilliant, you can leave this article and go and read something else.

If you think it’s user-friendly, but haven’t tested it on clients, maybe you should keep reading.

‘Testing’ is not sending people the URL for the new site and asking what they think of it.  Most people will tell you it looks lovely!

Usability testing is not just for big corporations, everyone can do something basic.  Here’s my quick and dirty test process:

  1. Identify the actions that you want the customer to take.
  2. FIND OUT what potential customers are most likely to want to know from visiting your website (that means ask some people who fall into your potential customer category what they would want to know/do)
  3. Create a series of 5 simple tasks and get some potential clients to try to carry them out and mark them on a simple scale e.g.:
    • Really easy
    • Fairly easy
    • Could have been simpler
    • Frustrating
    • Failed
  4. Add a comments box on the test form.

Questions might include:

Find the company phone number

Find the mailing address

From the home page what does this company sell?

Find out the price of [product]

Find the nearest retail stockist for [product]

Find two primary services and (how to) book an appointment to discuss these

Find a service that is relevant to your business and how it would benefit you to use it

Connect with the business on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter

Find out who runs the company

Some of these questions may sound ‘obvious’, but it’s surprising how many websites don’t make finding that information easy to get to.  Make sure your website is getting high scores in the Really easy box before releasing it into your marketplace.