When a site is put together, the main thing that matters is whether it is usable and if not then it is a total waste. For those who are new into the world of web developing or as website owners or as web designers, the task of checking whether a site is usable or not and to what extent is not easy. It is something that experts should do as they know what to do.
Here are some steps that will breaking it up into basics so that you get an insight into the world of website testing, especially if you are new to this and want to know more.
What are factors to be considered?
- Accessibility of the site
- Identity of the business
- Navigation within the site
- Content on site
Now that we know the main aspects, let us take an in-depth look at them:
Accessibility of the site: This part will look at factors that will have an impact on the accessibility of the site for those who visit. If overlooked, these factors will make the whole exercise of putting this site together pointless.
- The time taken for loading should be reasonable and acceptable – between 100KB to 60KB, so that visitors don’t have to wait
- Create a comfortable and readable contrast between the background and text so that visitors can read well when they visit.
- Font size should be aimed at being legible rather than focusing on the looks
- Use addons and flash with caution even though they add to the look of the site, they can make it slow
- Put alt tags on the images not only for Google to read but also for visitors who are impaired in sight
- Ensure that the 404 page is made up in such a way that it helps customers find their way to the right place
Identity of the business: A person visiting the site will be eager to know more about the identity of the business and about the person behind it, to ensure that they can find it easily, concentrate on the following:
- Place the logo in prominent and visible place and this usually is best placed on the left side for the visitor on the top part
- Use a simple but effective tagline that plainly tells them about your business in a few simple words.
- Ensure that you home page provides an instant idea about your business to those who are visiting
- Ensure that the about us page on the site is clear, interesting and provides means for your visitors to understand you
- Contact information is important and should be provided clearly
Navigation within the site: Once the visitors have grasped what your business is all about they would like to move on other things that interest them. Here are some points related to navigation within the site:
- Make the navigation menu easy to find and identify
- Ensure that labels on menu are precise and to the point
- Ensure that buttons and links are within reasonable limits and plan the menu in a very sensible way
- The link of the logo should be directly to the home page in case is can be clicked on to keep people from getting confused
- The links in the site should have consistency in appearance to make it easy for people to identify and pinpoint
- Have a nice and simple box for searching things in the site
- Ensure that the headlines are clear about the inner content based on SEO guidelines. This way Google and the visitors will know what the page is about
- Ensure that the content is visible without having to scroll as more people tend to read this and then only decide to stay or leave.
- Show consistency in color and the style of the site to keep things neat
- Do not go overboard while driving emphasis on certain points in the content. Do it but do it sparingly for the most effect.
- Ensure that disturbance is minimal by keeping ads and pop-ups unobtrusive but clearly marked
- Ensure that the copy on the site is simple but full of clear information that visitors can use
- Make the URL of the site friendly from the search engine point of view
- Make the HTML page titles simple to understand while keeping them unique.
Some hints on testing for usability
- There is no fixed time for this and should be done from time to time
- Do it regularly as it becomes easier to fix
- Do talk things out so that people know the results of testing
- Make use of resources as much as you can in this regard
- Do listen what people have to say though you need not always swayed by what they say
- Harness the power of social media
- Keep analyzing changes and tweaking them
Some hints on website testing from experts
- Test every time you make a change
- Track revenues to test
- Seek what complaints are coming from customers
- Use real users to test
- Use good tools to test
- Make use of extensions
Website usability testing is really important as it indicates how the site performs for visitors and this can never be neglected.