Web usability testing tips
When we start a web analytics project or when we create a website from scratch, we have to foresee the aspects that are likely to fail and how to fix them. In order to do this, we should use all the available tools to perform usability studies. They show users’ behavior on our website.
Google Browser Size
One of these tools is provided by Google through GoogleLabs, GoogleBrowser Size. This tool’s purpose is to help users who have a website and want to check in a clear and visual way how the elements’ position and the design of their website affect website’s usability. Size Browser uses data from the screen resolution in use and paints a layer on the web we want to analyze, thus showing the percentage of users viewing each area of the page without scrolling.
It is also advisable to define test groups including people from outside the project, thus, preventing contaminated opinions. We usually recommend doing at least three testings with three different people.
With this tool we can start an analysis of our website’s usability. This will allow us to realize what is important for users and what content they want to consult.
Below, we give some recommendations to ensure the usability of your website, referring to the previous testing, the design and content and the contact form.
- Use web applications to test user experience, a couple of web test can help you to correct a lot of mistakes.
- Make sure your website displays correctly in different browsers.
- Don’t forget to make a stylesheet for users who want to print a page.
- Don’t forget to check for broken links.
Content and design usability
- Don’t use grids for web design. Too rigid structures may constrain the design and content distribution.
- Make the navigation easy and improve readability.
- Don’t flood the sidebars with widgets that don’t add value to the content of the page.
- Make sure that it’s easy browsing your webpage. Users like “to take a quick look” immediately upon arrival to the website. The use of headers (h1, h2) and summary tables helps the user find the contents he’s looking for.
- Give your pages a consistent structure.
- Don’t put more content in a space where it barely fits.
- Use appropriate colors and contrasts to focus users’ attention.
- Despite the power of the “footer”, don’t take advantage of it to provide links to featured articles, subscription alert forms, etc.
- Use wireframes in the design process.
Contact forms usability
- Don’t forget the search form, especially if your website has a lot of pages. If there are few pages, then it doesn’t matter if the architecture and navigation information is correct.
- Don’t use the link “mail to” for contact information, the form will always be the best option.
- Simplify forms in order to allow the user to fill in them easily.