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5 Tips for Testing Your Site’s Usability

Website Design November 5th, 2012

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Once you have a website up and running, you need to make certain that you did a good job making it usable. If people cannot find their way around it or make use of the features on the website, it’s not doing you any good. This is something you might want to do before you have a redesign done. It will help you to identify problem areas.

1: Test the Links

Go through your site and test the various links. Test both the internal and external links. You’re not looking for broken links; there are utilities that can do that for you automatically. What you’re looking for is to see if the links open in the same window or in a new tab, if script blocking software prevents the links from opening at all and so forth.

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The easiest way to do this is to test the site on different browsers. See how they behave. If a browser with specific security software on it blocks some of your links, you may want to let your website designer know about that and see if there’s something you can do about it.

2: Have Test Users

Everybody knows that it’s a good idea to have other people take a look at your site. The problem is that people tend to get a rather homogenous group to test the site. If all of the people testing your website out are twenty-somethings with perfect eyesight and a lot of technical experience, you’re not really getting useful feedback.

Try to find people to test out your website who are of different ages, different levels of technical competency and, if possible, try to find people with accessibility issues. For example, if you have somebody with very bad eyesight try your site out and they cannot find their way around it or read the content easily, you may have identified a usability problem.

3: Check the Interactive Features

Try all of the different interactive features on your website in different browsers, including mobile browsers. Try to fill out forms, open pictures, enlarge and reduce images, increase and decrease the size of text and so forth. All you need to do is make certain that everything is working smoothly. If you identify a problem, take note of what browser gave you the issue and make sure you let your website designer know about this. There is a chance that they’ll know exactly what the problem is right away, but they may need to investigate, as well.

4: Speed

If you’re only testing out your website at your office, there’s a good chance that you’re testing it out on a connection with enormous bandwidth. Try your website out at different people’s houses and try connecting to it over a mobile connection. This will give you an idea of how quickly the site loads for different types of users. If your website is so bloated that it takes far too long to load on a slower Internet connection, this is an issue that a website designer can help you with.

5: Multimedia

Try out the various multimedia features on your website on different types of browsers. You should also try them with different security extensions installed on those browsers. See what happens to your JavaScript when you have scripting blocked, for instance. The website should still display in an acceptably attractive way.

All of these usability issues are things that can be fixed. If you need a website designer to go over your website and help you figure out how to fix these types of problems, or others, it usually takes no more than setting up a meeting and arranging for the work to be done.

How do you test your site’s usability?

Post By Matt Dandurand (2 Posts)

Matt Dandurand is the CEO of MediaContour.com, offering web design in Los Angeles, CA.

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Matt Dandurand is the CEO of MediaContour.com, offering web design in Los Angeles, CA.

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5 Tips for Testing Your Site’s Usability

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