Whether you're just beginning the process of optimizing your web site, or are already in a steady-state of continuous improvement, identifying usability issues on your site can uncover some of the most valuable opportunities for improving the site. "Usability issues" refers to anything that causes your site's visitors to have difficulty completing the actions you're hoping for them to take.
Things like having troubles locating certain products, requiring them to provide more personal information than necessary, slow page load speeds, etc., all fall into the area of Usability Issues. Often, the Usability Services we provide can uncover issues that can be fixed quickly and inexpensively which can also have a positive and immediate impact on your bottom line.
We offer many different Usability Testing programs, such as:
Detailed Moderated Usability Studies
To identify the most usability issues with your site that can be opportunities for improvement, a Detailed Moderated Usability Study is best. These studies allow us to observe representative users of your site individually as they attempt to complete specific key tasks associated with your site (such as signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or finding important information).
We are experts at getting the test subjects to think out loud about how they are deciding to do what they are doing, without leading them to any right or wrong solutions. One of the biggest mistakes web site owners make in testing is leaving the testing up to the developer or someone else too close to the project. This often results in inadvertently leading the test subject to the correct solution. Or if the test subjects know that they are dealing with someone responsible for the site, they often hold back some of the criticisms critical to optimizing the site.
A Detailed Usability Study from Web Site Optimizers will produce video sessions of each test we run for you to review, as well as a detailed report of our findings from the tests, with recommendations on improvements to the site to make based on the learnings from the study.
Remote User Tests
A less expensive alternative to Detailed Usability Studies are Remote User Tests. While not as thorough, these unmoderated tests can be used to get quick feedback at a higher level for certain functional areas of your site. The tests are shorter, and are tested on people who might not fit as tightly into your demographic, but they have a much faster turnaround at less cost. They can quickly uncover important issues, or help determine if a deeper investigation is needed.
With Remote User Tests, Web Site Optimizers handles all of the execution and analysis of the testing for you. Since the tests are shorter, and generally done on a smaller audience, we can turn our results around more quickly. Remote User Testing can be an excellent "entry-level" method to learn the value that user testing can bring to your web site.
Best Practices Site Reviews
We are often hired as consultants to review a customer's web site, identifying potential hurdles to the user completing the desired action as well as opportunities to improve the user experience. The result is a comprehensive report with examples and specific recommendations on easy-to-implement improvements to the web site. Customers either have their IT staffs implement those improvements, or work with us to add custom programming enhancements to the web site.
It's important to remember that "Best Practices" are only guidelines of what tends to work well. Every web site is different, and sometimes a "best practice" has a negative effect when implemented on a particular site. This is one reason having accurate analytics in place is important, to make sure that the design enhancements made to your site are indeed improvements.