I remember the anticipation when we were ready to launch a website. We put the final touches on the development of the site, and we made sure that everything was operational.
There was just one thing left to do.
We had to make sure everything worked.
Someone had to submit that form, run the credit card on the payment page, sign up for the email newsletter and much more. We referred to it as quality assurance, and really, that is what you are doing.
We did that when I worked in customer service. One of our QA (Quality Assurance) agents would pull our call and rate them based on what we were supposed to do.
In the digital world, we typically call it user testing or Usability testing. We can’t even settle on one word for the task, but one thing is certain.
User testing might be the most critical part of a launch as well as ongoing functionality of a website.
So, today, we are going to briefly discuss three ways you can user test your website for launch or to do a checkup on an existing site.
Get a friend or colleague outside your team to check the site
Many of us are small teams or even one-person shows. It is imperative that we get a different set of eyes from someone not tied to the project. They have fewer expectations and are coming to the site or page with fresh eyes.
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You might want to have them to do things like check buttons, sign up for emails, and anything else that the site has functions for.
The spectrum of having a colleague to look over the site can range from a simple glancing and trying various interactive components to a more detailed analysis. If they have their own testing method, let them use that. The important thing is the problems they find.
If your colleague does not, you can hand them your checklist.
Get someone on the team to test the page
When I worked for the agency, someone on our team (usually me) went through a pre-launch checklist. It included many of the user testing functions you might expect. It is always a good idea to get a member of your team to run a pre-launch checklist.
My suggestion is to have a member of the team not directly involved with the project. After all, our brain tends to fill in the gaps of what we expect there to be. It is best to have someone removed from the project to user test the website.
You will need a checklist. Checklists help you keep track of what you are testing. Below are four that you can use to help you create your own.
Use a usability testing platform
There are platforms that you can use that get other people to test your website. In most cases, they pay strangers to test your website or application. This is so useful because you can see how they interact with your website, where functionalities are missing, and what needs to be changed.
Magda Baciu from the GetUplift blog mentions three that may be of help. She says,
“There are many. I wouldn’t say one tool is better than the other, it depends a lot on your needs, but these are my favorite:
- Loop11– Great for live website user testing, but they don’t have their own testers you can use.
- TestingTime– Use this tool to recruit testers. The platform facilitates the meeting (face to face or via skype) between you and the tester.
- UserTest.io – You can bring your own testers or select from theirs based on a pre-screening questionnaire, not just demographics. There’s no limited number of scenarios/questions or time, so you can go as in depth as you want.”
If you are interested in more such web-based platforms, Carly Stec at Hubspot has created a long list of several.
Wrapping it up
User testing has several elements. The important thing is to remember to do some kind of testing before you launch your new website project. Making sure you have someone other than yourself or those working on the project to do the testing is crucial.
What kind of ways do you test your website for a launch? Do you use colleagues or a usability platform?