Building a website is a process, and a long one at that. It takes precious time, handiwork, and numerous resources to get the job finished. When it’s all said and done, how do you know what’s working? Is it when you think the site is attractive? Is it when your client thinks it looks pretty? In reality, the website works when the USERS think it works.
When you’re so involved with a particular business or website, it becomes difficult to see things from an outsider’s perspective. You may find an action easy, but a typical user might find that same action to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. It’s important to keep the end user in mind. If you don’t, you face the consequence of turning off your target audience.
Usability VS User Experience
Usability is important – it refers to the question of whether or not a user can actually complete a particular action. You want users to do things on your website, right? Whether it’s filling out a contact form, making a purchase, or reaching your blog, you want to be sure that users can actually do it. However, you must also keep in mind the user experience. This term refers to how a user FEELS when they complete a certain action. Does this feel difficult? Do I feel like this takes too much time? Do I feel frustrated?
Whether we like it or not, feelings do come into play when designing a website. You want your users to feel good about visiting your site – like they’ve taken something valuable away from it. It’s nearly impossible to do this (although you do have the ability to force close friends/relatives to test websites for you – that’s always fun), but usability-testing websites make this easy.
A Non-Biased Perspective
With the availability of websites such as Userlytics, you have the option to test random people that fit your target audience. Fill in demographic requirements such as age, income level, education level, etc. and find out what your users ACTUALLY think when using your website.
The beauty of usability testing websites does not lie in the opinions of the users (while that’s awesome to have), but in the real-time viewing of their experience. Our experience with Userlytics showed us a variety of items we would have missed otherwise – this goes back to what you think works and what actually works for the end user. With Userlytics, we were able to watch our participants as they went through the motions and voiced how they felt. With that information, we were able to head back to the drawing board to make improvements based on valid suggestions by potential end users. It’s all about pleasing them, right?