How to Analyze Your Website’s Usability

How to Analyze Your Website’s Usability

If like many American business owners, the website you have now is probably the same one you’ve had for a long time. Long enough, that if asked, you could probably draw out a little diagram without looking, right?

If you are nodding to yourself, we’d like you to take the time to rethink your website. Though you might think it is working great for visitors, there is one thing you may not have considered: Testing your website’s usability.

Here are our tips on how to do that yourself – with a little help from your friends and staff.

1. The Initial Website Target Test. To do this test, you are going to need to recruit the help of a couple of friends. The trick to success? Be sure theyhave NEVER been on your website before, AND they have to be in your ideal target demographic. (If you don’t know anyone, ask your employees if they do.) Then, get them to sit with you on your website. Carefully watch how easily they navigate through your website, what they find and how easy it is for them to get information about your products or services without help, getting lost or completely moving away from your site altogether.

2. Get Out Your Mobile Devices. It’s hard to ignore the increase in mobile users. According to Nielson, the number of people who use mobile web grew 82% between July 2011 and July 2012. At that same time, the number of PC users dropped 4%. The only way to make sure your website is going to make the cut into the mobile-savvy future? Test it. If you don’t have a Smartphone or tablet, find someone who does. And don’t just pull it up – move around, click and try to find things.  If you find its ease of use less than easy, you may want to think of adding a mobile version of your website.

3. Find Someone Random. Your next test is to find someone completely random. In a café, at a mall, your teenage son’s best friend – you get the picture. Now get them to go to the website. Their mission – Get them to figure out what your company does. If they can’t figure out in less than five seconds, it’s time to re-think your website.

4. Conduct a Company Focus Group. Get your employees together and hold an informal website focus group. Ask them to give you a list of elements they like and dislike about your website and why. Also, get them to find five competitors websites and describe the elements on those websites they like better than yours. Then hold a big discussion. Together, you can determine if your website is effective.

One big question to ask – What is the major goal of your website and is it accomplishing that goal?

5. Conduct a Random Focus Group. This sounds expensive, but often you’ll find that all it costs is a couple of pizzas and maybe a few small gift cards. The truth is, people LOVE giving their opinions. Just make sure you are using people in your target demographic. Then discuss with them what elements they like, what they think they are supposed to do (make a purchase, call a number) and how easy the navigation is. If you can, get them to check it on their mobile devices and describe that experience as well.

6. Integrate Social Media. Take a look and see – Do you have social media integrated on your website? You need to. This could be in the way of a social media feed, which shares posts on your website, or simply social media icons which link to your pages. Doing this will create a significant increase in visitor  brand engagement and interaction.

7. Come to Our Next Website Wednesday. Any easy way to check your website’s success is by getting it analyzed (for free) at our next Website Wednesday. All you have to do is make an appointment today on our website, come in and we’ll help you decide if your website works well for company. If together we decide you need to improve it, we’ll get our experienced web design team to help you create a new one. We also create mobile websites!