User Testing 101: The Key to Unlocking Your Website’s Potential
Have you ever had a heated discussion about the placement or color of a particular button without any data to help back up an opinion? Oftentimes internal teams from designers, marketing, business users, to developers have vastly different opinions on how a website should look and function. Of course teams want to follow best practices, but changes to existing layouts or new designs may have teams struggling to find middle ground.
Generating feedback via user testing is a valuable tool for ensuring that your website, app, program or product is user-friendly and meets the needs of your target audience. Conducting user testing involves observing users as they interact with your website, app, program or product and completing specific tasks. We’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to conduct user testing, including some example scenarios for what should be included as well as a free template for reporting your findings to key stakeholders. This will help teams to be able to get data to help make informed business decisions.
Steps to Conduct User Testing
Step 1: Generate a plan
Before conducting website user testing, you need to generate a plan which will include:
- Goals and objectives for the test
- Tasks that participants will be asked to completeMetrics that you’ll use to measure success
For example: If you’re testing an e-commerce website, you might include tasks like searching for a product, adding it to the cart, and completing the checkout process.
Step 2: Choose your participants
Next, you’ll need to choose your participants, consider the following:
- Participants should be representative of your target audience, so you can gather feedback from those who are most likely to use your website, app, program or product
- You can use various methods to recruit participants, such as social media, email lists, your internal database, existing customers, sales/customer service contacts.Create a list of participants that you will reach out to, generally you will only need four or five total participants as you will start to notice common themes of feedback.Get a mix of participants with their age, experience, gender, location, etc.
Step 3: Create unbiased and non-leading questions
When developing the questions for the user test, it’s essential to create unbiased and non-leading questions.
- Avoid questions that suggest a particular answer or that might influence the participant’s response.
- Ask open-ended questions that encourage participants to provide their honest opinions and feedback.
For example: You might ask, “What do you think of the layout of this page?” instead of, “Don’t you think the layout of this page is confusing?”
Step 4: Conduct the user test(s)
During the test, observe participants as they interact with your website, app or program and complete the assigned tasks.
- You can use various methods to conduct the test, such as in-person testing, remote testing, or moderated testing.
- It’s essential to record the test session, so you can review it later and identify areas for improvement.
- Make sure you gather consent from participants to record the session, it is best that you ask this beforehand and provide a consent form for them to fill out.
Step 5: Analyze the results
After conducting the test, analyze the results to identify areas for improvement.
- Look for patterns in the feedback and identify any common pain points or areas where participants struggled.
- Use rating scales to get quantitative data for the qualitative tasks that you are asking participants to complete.
For example: If you have a scenario asking participants to analyze the layout of a page, ask them to rate the page on a scale of one to five to help rate the overall effectiveness of the page.
Step 6: Share your findings
Prioritize and share your findings with your team and stakeholders.
- Present the results in a clear and concise manner with priorities of what will make the biggest impact.
- Highlight the key takeaways from the test and provide actionable recommendations for improvement.
Step 7: Implement actions
Finally, implement the recommended actions based on the findings from the user testing.
- Prioritize the changes based on their impact on the user experience and the ease of implementation.
- Conduct further testing to ensure that the changes have a positive impact on the user experience.
Example scenarios for website user testing
Scenario 1: Testing an e-commerce website
- Task 1: Search for a specific product
- Task 2: Add the product to the cart
- Task 3: Complete the checkout process
- Metrics: Time to complete each task, number of errors, and satisfaction score
Scenario 2: Testing a news website
- Task 1: Find the most recent news articles
- Task 2: Sign up for the newsletter
- Task 3: Share an article on social media
- Metrics: Time to complete each task, ease of finding articles, and satisfaction score
Scenario 3: Testing a booking website
- Task 1: Search for a hotel in a specific location
- Task 2: Select a room and make a reservation
- Task 3: Cancel a reservation
- Metrics: Time to complete each task, ease of finding hotels, and satisfaction score
Free Template – Copy to Conduct Your Own User Test
Download your free copy here that you can easily copy and paste into an existing Powerpoint or Google Slide deck.
What is in the template for user testing
- This template provides a participant summary, goals/tasks, key findings, and bug summary
- No need for you to recreate the slides, you will just need to copy and paste into your own deck!
How to use the template for user testing
- Copy the template
- Rebrand with your company colors, fonts, logos to your specific needs
- Create the various slides for each of the personas and refine over time