Usability Testing Necessary?
to the following kinds of problems:
- It is difficult
for customers to find the information they need (takes
too many "clicks".)
- Customers are forced
to wait too long for the information they need; they become
impatient or lose their train of thought
- Customers are having
a hard time navigating your site; they cannot find what they
- Customers are not
able to do what you have designed the site to do.
A recent Internet study
reveals why usability is so important:
More than 83 percent
of Internet users are likely to leave a website [as
opposed to using search] if they feel they have to make too
many clicks to find what they're looking for ... half left
after just four clicks.
usability problems stem from the fact that the global Internet
(which extends right to your customer's desktop) has severe limitations
and was not really designed as a commercial-quality medium.
design of your website must address these real-world issues
The Website Usability Testing Details and continue to the
conclusion at the bottom of the page.
data speeds are variable (right down to zero!) (details
computer speed may be slow; your web pages may form slowly
resolution and contrast are poor (details
window size is smaller than you think (details
differences (browser incompatibilities) (details
websites set the standards (details
in the abilities of your customers:
of your customers have terrific eyesight and see all
(about 9% of males and 2% of females) are to some degree
have great memories; they can easily remember details
from one page to the next, or what options were available
on the home page after they've left it.
have poor memories and must depend entirely on what
is on the page right in front of them.
can glance through a few pages here and there, and
have a good idea of how your site is arranged.
can look through every page and still feel lost.
love to read.
customers have enormous vocabularies and are comfortable
with complex sentences.
know few words and want it short and sweet.
are native speakers of English.
know English only as a second language.
data speeds are variable (right down to zero!)
The Internet "superhighway" is actually made of many connecting systems,
some of which are more modern and efficient than others. The overall speed
of data transmission depends on the speed of the slowest, most congested "road" in
the "highway" system. Your web server may be very fast, your customer
may have broadband (high speed) access, but if the web page files need to travel
through a congested or narrow bottleneck, the effective speed of data transmission
drops to a crawl. (Go back)
computer speed may be slow, causing your web pages to form slowly
A web page delivered to your customer's computer is in pieces; all of the graphic
files must be requested by the customer computer, then assembled with the text
page in memory. Customers with old or slow computers will wait longer for a
complicated page to appear on the screen. (Go back)
resolution and contrast are poor
The "resolution" of the screen refers to how many pixels
(dots) per inch are seen on the customer's monitor. The resolution
of a typical computer
monitor is a fraction of the resolution offered by printed books and magazines.
The poor resolution means you must be sure your site design does not depend
on tiny print and very finely detailed images.
The "contrast" is the difference in brightness between the lightest
color dots and the darkest dots. Computer screens are the losers again, offering
less than one-tenth the contrast of good quality magazines and books. The poor
contrast of your customer's screen restricts what you can do with colors and
backgrounds. (Go back)
window size is smaller than you think
Most people work with screens that are at least 800x600 pixels; about one-third
have screens that are larger. However, remember that the browser window may
not take up the entire screen, and the window itself takes up space; a title
bar, menu list and button bars all occupy part of the screen, along with the
scroll bar on the right side. This leaves a relatively small space to with
which to work.
Studies have shown that many people have no idea how even their favorite websites are organized; it is like trying to visualize the design of an oriental
rug, when you only get to see a few square inches at a time. (Go
differences (browser incompatibilities)
As if the problems already mentioned weren't enough, there are
a wide variety of browsers in use today. Differences between the
various versions of Microsoft
Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator frustrate web authors. Many people
with slow modem connections turn off graphics and just surf for text. Vision-impaired
people surf with an "audio browser" that will read aloud the text
from a web page. And don't forget plug-ins like Macromedia Flash for multimedia
and Adobe Acrobat to read PDF document files, which must be installed by the
user. (Go back)
Who is your competition on the web? The correct answer is - every site on the
web! Since any site is just one click away (remember, customers have bookmark
files full of one-click destinations), they all compete with yours. Who is
your main competition? The big sites, the ones that everyone has gone to and
on which they spend much more time.
Why does this concern you? Because your customers have all learned to use the
web on these big sites, and these big sites have set the standards that your
site must meet. (Go back)
rules-based) website usability testing from TheSiteDoctor.com can
typically get you the answers you need in 3-5 business days,
pinpointing the usability problems that cause your visitors - potential
customers - to leave your site, and never come back.
We use several
different methods to determine site usability, including rules-based
testing as well as a set of tests to determine how difficult it
is for a customer to perform specific tasks (like making a purchase
or finding a specification.)
We prepare a report
that presents all of the issues on your site, page by page. The report
provides you with practical, easy-to-understand facts and recommendations
to help you make decisions about each problem.
The bottom line:
we help you give your customers more of what they want on your