Monday 28 April 2014

Usability testing: What should you measure?

Usability does what it says on the tin – it’s a measure of how easy something is to use. But how do you measure something so subjective? That’s the topic of this blog post.

But first, why does usability matter so much? Enhanced usability results in improved conversion. By increasing conversion on your website you can increase sales before even beginning to increase traffic to it. Conversion is all about generating more sales from your visitors.

Now on to which usability factors you should measure:

Can visitors achieve their objectives?

Can you remember the last time you shouted at a screen because what you wanted to do wasn’t obvious? We’ve all been there.

Recently this has happened to me because:

The buying process timed out while I was digging around for my card, I couldn’t find a phone number and when I couldn’t sign up for something I wanted to pay for because it had no register button for new users!!! Makes me slight angry just thinking about it!

It’s called task analysis, the process of analysing which tasks will be most important to your visitors, then accessing whether they are:
  • Intuitive / easy
  • Learnable / memorable
  • Efficient / quick
  • Error free
Sometimes users make mistakes, no one’s perfect. So help them out, and show them exactly what they need to change on their enquiry form, how to retrieve their password or continue where they left off.


When you’re looking at how easy your website is to navigate, one thing to think about is the number of clicks an action requires to complete. Of course, the fewer, the better.

And how many navigational features are there on your website? Main menu, sidebar, footer menu, widgets, … To many can be confusing. So keep it simple and consistent throughout your website.
Are your categories intuitive? This is based on opinion really, but if you ask enough people you will get a consensus.

Multi-platform Accessibility

Gone are the days where websites can ignore their mobile visitors. Responsive web design is vital to stop mobile users exiting your website immediately.

How will the goals of your mobile users be different? Perhaps your mobile users want directions and opening times over business information. Measure how easy it is to complete these tasks on the responsive version of your website.

Load time, is another important measureable thing for desktop users and it’s crucial for mobile users. In fact, 66% of smartphone and tablet users are frustrated with page load times.


Language must be more that understandable, it must be engaging and on brand – these are fairly subjective but there are several other important factors to get right, like making sure the text is large enough, that it is legible against any background and jargon free; these you can easily test.

Customer Satisfaction

This is the user experience part of usability. If your website does not provide a pleasant customer experience your customer service team may never get the chance to call, email or meet those potential customers.

You’ll need to assess how your website makes visitors feel. Is it enjoyable to use? Is it useful?  Have you got the tone correct? And ultimately, are your customers satisfied with your online offering? In a way, this encompasses everything we’ve just been talking about because it brings us back to conversion. Satisfied visitors will convert and become customers.

If you’ve found this article useful, we’ll be following it next week with: Usability testing: 12 tools to measure how easy your website is to use. Where we’ll look into some of the various usability testing tools available.

No comments:

Post a Comment