When working in technology, testing is hands down *the* most important part of your project. If you don’t test your website, how are you going to know if it’s effective? If it works as expected? An entire profession has been created just for User Experience (UX) testing, which includes evaluating and analyzing the users’ experience on a website. If it wasn't valuable, many companies would ignore it. You may not be a big business owner, but you still owe it to yourself to take the same precautions as some of the big companies do. Remember, you only get a few seconds to impress your visitors. If your website isn’t hitting the mark, they will no doubt go elsewhere.
Being a Project Manager for 20 years, I’ve seen so many times where testing is thrown to the side and not taken seriously. Need to deliver a project on time? “Let’s reduce our testing efforts!”, they say. But NO! That’s a horrible idea and not to mention, a horrible business decision.
During one of my last projects as a Project Manager in corporate, I asked my Testing Lead, “How much time do you think you’ll need to test?” Her response was, “For a project like this, we usually get 6 weeks.” “I don’t want to know what you usually get, what I want to know is what your professional opinion is.” She responded, “Ok, I’d say about 8 weeks.” “Great, I’ll give you 10.” And can you believe they took up every last second of those 10 weeks to test? And can you also believe we had ZERO production issues? That, my friends, is the true value of testing. Because guess what? The company saved a ton of money by not having to pay for the team to do re-work. Also, their potential consumers didn’t get frustrated by a poor user experience online.
What is Functionality Testing?
With all of our projects, we perform functionality testing at a minimum. Functionality testing is when we double-check that every button and link works as expected. Every e-mail is triggered when they are supposed to be triggered. Every page is loading in a reasonable amount of time. All of the functionality of the website is working from end to end.
We check out the responsiveness for each of the breakpoints. We make sure that at least ten screen sizes are looking as expected and we adjust accordingly along the way. These are all things you can easily do prior to pushing that “Publish” button.
What is User Experience Testing?
In an ideal world, all of our projects would include user experience testing; however, some clients don’t have the budget to afford the extra time, so I encourage them to do it on their own.
UX testing (at a high level) is testing how a visitor interacts with the website. Are they frustrated with trying to find what they are looking for? Is it easy for them to contact you? How are they scrolling through the site? Are they clicking on the buttons to learn more?
These are all very important questions to answer prior to publishing your website. Let’s discuss how you may perform UX texting on your own.
How to Perform UX Testing
1. Connect with friends and family
Before you started putting together your website and brand, I’m sure you thought to create your customer persona, right? When you perform UX testing, the first step is to find someone who is your customer persona and ask if they would be willing to participate in testing your website. You’ll want to find at least five people to test with and include folks of several age ranges.
When you schedule a session with them, make sure to include a Zoom link. When you connect with the tester, be sure to record the session so that you may review your session and make the necessary changes to your website.
2. Create test scenarios
These can be a little tricky, depending on the complexity of your site. Assuming your site is rather simple in nature, you will want to ask questions such as:
“On the home page, where would you go if you want to connect with me?”
“Where would you go to learn more about my services?”
“Where would you go to learn more about me?”
“What do you think about the design of the pages? Do you find it to be easy to navigate? What do you think about the colors and fonts?”
When the tester clicks to go on to the other pages, continue asking questions that are specific to those pages. Make sure that people can easily find what you want them to find.
3. Watch the sessions
After the sessions have been completed, take a few moments to watch the videos you recorded. Check to see how they scroll through the site. Is it quick? Or are they taking their time to read everything? If they’re scrolling quick, would it be reasonable to assume there was nothing there to grab their attention? If they’re scrolling slowly, are they taking the action you want them to take? Is the content engaging enough?
4. Make the edits
We suggest making the edits you learned from your first tester prior to meeting with the second tester, so on and so forth. That way, you can truly test the end result of the website as you move forward in your testing.
These little edits will most definitely make your website more effective and more impactful, so even if you don’t like some of the suggestions people give you, make the changes anyway and see how it works. Your website is never a finished product, it should always be changing and adjusting as your business grows and morphs.
We hope these tips are helpful for you when testing your website. Do you want to learn more? We’ve put together a Master Course on How to Create a BOMBASTIC Website that will teach you this and so much more. Check it out!
~Denise Foy - Web Designer/ Project Manager @ ZHOOSH