What is Website Usability?
Website usability is the study and design of websites with the goal of making them easy to use. It takes into account the ease of understanding the content, the interface, and providing user satisfaction.
Website usability includes many elements:
- Clarity: Clear language, concise instructions, menu labels that make sense, etc.
- Simplicity: Reduce clutter, one thing per page, etc.
- Consistency: Consistent navigational patterns (menus, buttons), consistent labels (iconography), etc.
- Flexibility: Test it on all devices, make sure users can make mistakes without harm, and test with different hardware configurations.
- Error prevention: Test for errors in all form fields, buttons, etc.
- Aesthetic appeal: Test the overall look and feel of the website. Is it visually appealing? Are all elements in the right place?
It's essential to take the time to test your website's UX to avoid costly mistakes and downtime; the sooner, the better.
Two Types of User Experience Testing
The two ways to test UX are qualitative and quantitative testing. In the end, both formats of UX testing will get you to a place where your website is easy for visitors to use. The main difference is the number of tests you will need to perform to get accurate results.
Let's look at the pros and cons of each.
Qualitative UX Testing
In qualitative testing, studies suggest that five user tests will uncover 80% of your website's problems. This type of UX testing is best suited for early prototypes or concepts and can be used to get feedback on user attitudes, opinions, and emotions.
Here are the main benefits and drawbacks of this type of testing.
Pros of Qualitative Testing:
- Cheaper - can be done on a small budget
- Fast - results are immediate
- Focuses on users' needs and wants
Cons of Qualitative Methods:
- Test UX users are small in number
- Results are hard to measure - success is subjective
- Not accurate enough for making high-level decisions about your website's design or layout
Quantitative UX Testing
On the other hand, in quantitative testing, dozens of tests are performed over an extended period using A/B split testing methods on different pages.
In this type of testing, you create two different versions of a page (A and B). Next, test them against each other to see which one performs better. You can then use the test data to decide which version of the page you'll use on your website.
Compared to qualitative methodology, this approach needs four times the number of users. It involves the following pros and cons.
Quantitative Test UX Pros:
Test users are more extensive in number - providing statistically effective results A larger number of results can be measured and are therefore more accurate Use test results to make significant decisions about website design or layout
Slow - takes time to get statistically significant results More expensive - requires a larger budget Test results could be skewed by the testing process if not based on emotional design or real users
How to Test Shopping Carts
Shopping cart testing methodology includes things like changing button sizes and colors, asking people about their opinions on the site, or testing the flow of your check-out process.
There are a few steps involved in user experience testing on e-commerce shopping carts:
Decide which pages you want to test. The most important pages for testing are the ones most frequently used, such as product and payment pages.
Create a test plan. A plan will help you decide which tests you want to perform and how you will conduct them.
Here are a few tips for creating a test plan:
- Decide on a goal for your test. What are you trying to achieve?
- Test one variable at a time. Testing too many things at once will make it difficult to determine which had the most significant impact on user behavior.
- Make sure your test is statistically significant; the results are accurate and can be generalized to all users.
- Don't use testers who are already familiar with your website or who work for your company. Test on neutral users to get the most accurate results.
- Use a variety of methods to test users. Using several different strategies will help you get a complete understanding of how they interact with your product.
- Record user feedback. This will help you understand why users behave the way they do and what you can do to improve their experience.
Evaluate your results. Don't just look at the quantitative metrics. Look for patterns and trends in your data that you can apply to enhance parts of the site where performance was poor.
Don't stop after completing one test! Test often. Regular usability testing will help you get more accurate results by reducing user bias.
Use iterative design principles to improve as you go.
Which Should You Choose? The Right Test for Your Business
Usability testing is a critical part of creating a website that is easy to use and navigate. Test your website as often as necessary to ensure that it stays up-to-date and on track with user expectations.
Test different designs of the same page, test multiple pages at once, or just one specific webpage—it's all about what you want to learn from the testing.
The best choice for your business depends on your unique goals and what you want to measure; both options will give you valuable insight into improving your website's UX.
However, keep in mind the following fundamental ideas:
Qualitative is best for early prototypes or concepts. Users in qualitative testing are small in number, so the results will be harder to measure objectively.
Quantitative is more statistically accurate for making high-level decisions about your website's design or layout. More testers mean a higher degree of accuracy when measuring success rates on different pages.
Next Steps to Test UX
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