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How & why to test the usability of websites

Websites are the most common platform that UX designers and researchers perform usability testing on. The direct feedback gained by observing testers as they interact with a website is critical to the success of website design.

Website usability testing is so crucial because it reveals a deeper layer of mental processes, showing not just how people use you website, but why they are inclined to make certain choices, follow certain paths, or take certain actions.


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Website usability testing shows “Why”

This enables researchers and designers to see and understand issues in a very human way: watching users struggle demonstrates powerfully why something isn’t working.

High abandonment rates?  Do some website testing and you’ll see where people are getting frustrated and giving up hope.

Lots of the same inexplicable error?  Do some website testing, and you’ll see the element that’s misleading so many to make the same wrong turn.

The value of website testing is that it allows you to listen to users, peeking into their heads in a way more intimate than other method.

People open up when they start to lose patience with a website. A user looking for information about an environmental non-profit’s local activities had this to say about their interactive map:

“We can see a very specific location here in Bulgaria about forestry, and then when I click it, I get a general page about forestry, not specifically about the one in Bulgaria. Again, the problem is the connection. This is not specific to what I selected in the map.”


Your target demographics will talk on TryMyUI


People will talk during a website usability test

Users have a lot to say, most of which never makes it to the ears of the designers and the product managers. But insights like this are critical to understanding the user experience in its entirety. And website testing captures it all with video and audio.

Some feedback is highly detailed, and addresses flaws in specific elements, interactions, or flows. Other times, it addresses broad conceptions of the character of the site:

“It’s not preachy. I’m obviously concerned about environmental issues, but websites dealing with this stuff, and the environmental scientists and people on TV, can be preachy and I don’t appreciate that. I guess that’s maybe why people don’t take this issue as seriously as they should. But this website is lighthearted and quite positive, and I like the general vibe. If it didn’t have a fun atmosphere like this I don’t think people would pay attention to it.”

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Website testing allows us to see our products from the other side, getting a glimpse of the GUI from fresh eyes. It’s a matter of perspective: as designers and product managers, we are too close to the product, too familiar with its workings to see where it goes wrong.

Testing with real users, just sitting back and watching and listening to what they have to say, puts us back on the right track. Because ultimately, design isn’t about us; it’s about the users.


Step by Step Website Testing


Website usability testing with Trymata is easy as 1-2-3

Trymata specializes in providing website owners, large and small, with candid feedback from people in your target audience. Our remote user testing software captures the screens and voices of people using your site so you can quickly grasp what’s working and what’s making people frustrated, lost, or confused.

Meanwhile, Trymata is collectinginsightful quantitative data that most other platforms don’t.

Why website usability testing?

It works! Website testing is cost-effective to perform and, when you do it early and often, it can save you months of Web development effort and thousands of dollars in expenses.

Your web developers and graphic designers, while immensely talented, aren’t like the people you’re trying to reach with your website. They think differently and speak an entirely different vocabulary. Designing sites that make sense to your professionals generally produces a site that is not understandable or usable by your audience.

It only takes five users to uncover 80 percent of high-level usability problems on your website, according to Jakob Nielsen, the author of “Usability Engineering.”


Our FREE trial includes 5 user testing videos with full features!

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