Best Practices & Benefits of Usability Testing

So, you’ve launched a new website for your business with a fresh look and optimized content that perfectly explains your business and offering. Your sales team is standing by awaiting the influx of new leads. But their phones aren’t ringing and your inbox is empty. What went wrong?

Any number of factors can affect your conversions (or lack thereof), and many of those factors are things you have power over: your website’s layout, main navigation, content, plugins, and widgets … the list goes on.

The hard part of perfecting your website’s user experience is identifying the barriers that prevent visitors from, well, visiting and eventually converting into leads. Even more challenging is predicting and removing these barriers before your visitors actually reach them. But this is exactly why we suggest conducting usability testing as part of your new website build. 

What Can Usability Testing Tell Me?

Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with users that reflect the audiences who will use what you’ve made. As builders of user-first digital experiences on behalf of a wide range of clients, our target audiences are quite broad and include individuals from just about any demographic or background.

During testing, participants will try to complete tasks with minimal guidance from a proctor. The test facilitator’s job is to stay as objective as possible and focus on being reassuring while observers watch, listen, and take notes on user behavior. The goal is to identify any usability problems, collect qualitative and quantitative data, and determine the participant’s overall satisfaction with the experience.

Usability testing in web development goes beyond recording users’ general opinions, thoughts, or feelings on a website. Instead, we prioritize analyzing user actions to evaluate how effectively the user experience guides visitors through specific tasks and processes, like locating contact information or booking a consultation.

Some of the most common outcomes of effective usability testing include:
Identifying usability issues: 

Usability testing helps uncover usability problems that may not be apparent during the design and development process. By observing users in action, you can pinpoint areas where they struggle, get confused, or encounter obstacles so you can make adjustments.

Improving user experience (UX): 

Usability testing provides valuable insights into how real users perceive and interact with your website. By understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points, your UX design can enhance the overall experience, build trust, and increase user satisfaction.

Validating design decisions: 

Usability testing allows you to validate your design choices by gathering feedback directly from users. It helps you confirm whether your design decisions align with user expectations, preferences, and the conclusions drawn from buyer personas, buyer’s journey maps, and other user research.

Refining specific functions: 

Through usability testing, you can evaluate how effectively users can complete specific tasks or processes within your website, such as making a purchase or booking a consultation. This insight enables you to streamline processes, reduce friction, and improve task completion rates.

Increasing conversion rates: 

By identifying and addressing usability issues, usability testing can help optimize your website for conversion. Understanding user behavior and preferences allows you to make informed changes that enhance the likelihood of users taking desired actions.

Increasing user trust and loyalty: 

A positive user experience builds trust and fosters user loyalty. By investing in usability testing, you demonstrate your commitment to delivering a high-quality product or service that caters to your users’ needs, which can lead to long-term customer relationships.

Validating new features or concepts: 

Before investing time and resources into developing new features or concepts, usability testing allows you to validate their viability and desirability. Gathering user feedback early on helps you make informed decisions about which ideas are worth pursuing.

Done correctly, usability testing can save your web developers a great deal of time and, by extension, save your business a great deal of money. Anticipating problems before they arise is preferable, but detecting and correcting problems with your website quickly is the next best thing.

Usability testing can be as thorough or as broad as you want, with very few testers, and still be effective in ironing out the wrinkles in your digital experience. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment to have a huge impact, and you can hire UX experts to conduct it, or you can even do it yourself.

How Do I Conduct Usability Testing?

Usability testing isn’t informative to just websites and digital experiences. It can benefit just about any business that targets consumers with a service or product. And, let’s be honest: that’s just about every business there is.

If you’re curious about how your business is perceived, how your product is used, or how your buyers feel about any stage in your sales process, usability testing can provide the answers. You just have to ask the right questions.

Want to learn how real customers feel about your website?

Download our free guide to DIY usability testing.

In this ebook, we’ll guide you through how to:

  • Clearly define your objectives
  • Create realistic scenarios
  • Observe and record notes on users’ actions and thoughts
  • Effectively interpret, analyze, and organize the data
  • And finally, make a plan to improve the user experience (with a template!)

Build With Your Audience in Mind

At 434 Marketing, we believe that user research is the foundation on which every exceptional, award-winning digital experience is built. Some of that research can be done on your own — either remotely via video call, or in person at your favorite coffee shop — with some handy digital tools and a little human psychology. One of the the most efficient ways to learn what people want is to ask them directly.

Usability testing is just one of the research methods we employ to ensure our digital products meet the needs of our clients and their end users. Our buyer research generates a data-driven analysis of the buyer’s journey, their core decision-making impulses, and targeted audience segmentation, so we know exactly who your customers are and what they’re looking for before we build anything.

If you’re curious what we can find out about your buyers and your site’s performance, let us know! We love data, and we love sharing insights that can boost your digital presence, leads, and revenue.