Web Site Usability Testing

Have you ever tested your web site to see if it actually works? We’ve seen some beautifully designed web sites that just don’t work. This goes back, in part to my last blog on having a Call to Action on each page. But it also goes beyond that. Once you have a call, you have to determine if people can actually accomplish it.

A couple of years ago, we decided that since we want people to call us, we should move our phone number from being buried in the footer of the page up to shouting it in the header. Within a week I had confirmation from a new customer that having the phone number up high and large helped us land the job. That’s mean by web site usability testing. Can people actually do what you want them to do?

We ran a Pay Per Click campaign for a customer for awhile. He wasn’t getting the desired results (more sales as it is an ecommerce site). We were getting him more clicks to the correct page but when we looked at the page, we saw that the “Buy Now” button was way down on the page, after a long list of products. People – CUSTOMERS – weren’t buying because they couldn’t figure out how to do so.

A great way to think about web site usability testing is Steve Krug’s favorite line: “Don’t Make Me Think!”. If visitors to your web site have to think, they’ll likely go away. If, on the other hand, the next step is obvious, they’ll likely take it.

So take a minute and go through your site, or better yet, get a real live customer to go through your site. Ask them if it makes sense to do whatever it is that you want them to do. If you want a real professional look at your web site, we can conduct a usability test but you can do a lot of testing on your own.


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