Website Usability and Functionality Testing
Website functionality testing verifies that a website functions as intended. It assesses how seamless, effective and efficient the website satisfies user expectations. Usability is a critical aspect of any web-based platform. Realizing that usability is a multi-faceted property is essential to the success of the evaluation exercise. Factors that influence the success of website usability ratings include:
- Intuitive design elements: straightforward and effortless knowledge of a site’s underlying architecture and navigation features.
- User learning curve: how fast new users can utilize a website’s functionality to accomplish planned activities.
- Site efficiency: how fast experienced users can complete tasks.
- Stickiness factor: how easy the site is to remember for users in subsequent visits.
- Error correction and severity levels: frequency of user or site errors, the severity level and ease of recovery from mistakes.
- User opinion/subjective satisfaction: this factor assesses whether users like the system.
Develop websites with high usability ratings by utilizing the principles of user-centered design (UCD). A particularly useful technique is testing early and often to achieve desired usability scores. UCD emphasizes the need for continuous testing throughout the design process. Several methods are available to assist you in developing the website’s content, visual layout, data repositories, interface architecture (IA) and subjective satisfaction.
Website usability testing opportunities include:
Usability testing on existing sites.
User satisfaction surveys for real world evaluation of website functionality and usability.
End to end usability testing to ascertain ease of use.
First click testing to ensure users follow the right navigation paths.
Wireframing to evaluate site navigation functionality.
Card sorting test to facilitate the development of the site’s IA.
Focus groups to identify user objectives.
Deploying these tools in the evaluation exercise improves the usability of your website significantly. Identified usability errors are corrected errors in the website maintenance phase.
Handling Test Data
Usability tests collect two types of data: quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data measures actual testing activities. Qualitative data provides you with information regarding user perceptions or opinions. Collected data is critical in:
- Evaluating the usability and functionality of your website.
- Recommending needed improvements.
iii. Implementing identified recommendations when performing website maintenance.
- Re-testing a website to assess the impact of implemented changes.
What to do after Usability Testing
After obtaining the results of your site’s usability tests, compile the information noting frequently experienced issues. Estimate the amount of time spent on accomplishing various tasks. Think of ways that you can modify the website to ensure users perform tasks expediently. Additionally, pay attention to feedback provided by your site visitors. For clarification contact your visitors to avoid ambiguities. Incorporate recommended changes as fast as you can. Similar to any web, applications or system design projects make usability testing an on-going process. Progressive usability testing ensures implemented changes are appropriate and pinpoints new usability problems. Never defer usability testing until you have implemented your website’s design entirely. If you do, you risk confronting critical problems that may require entire site redesign.