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Website usability testing

What is website usability testing?

Website usability testing is important for ensuring that a website is accessible and usable for its end users.

A major part of website usability testing is making sure that a website is accessible and complies with disability laws and regulations. Public sector organisations are particularly concerned with website usability, so if you or your company are building a website for a public sector or governmental organisation then website usability testing will be especially important.

Website usability testing will generally be required to ensure that a website is usable for a blind, partially sighted or person disabled in other ways. Less obvious but equally important usability issues include color blindness, motor impairments and brain processing functions. An example of a usability issue affecting color blindness for example would be asking people to click on the red button if they agree with something or the green button if they disagree.

Website usability issues

As well as the obvious catering for disabled users, there are other more general usability issues that can affect a website. A website's text should be easy to understand. Some design issues can make it difficult for pretty much anyone to use a website (such as light blue text on a dark blue background for example).

Website usability issues also affect a website's design. Some websites can be difficult to use if they are non-intuitive. A web usability expert will be able to advise on whether a website's user interface is well designed and intuitive. This normally means placing search facilities, menu bars and site maps where people expect to see them. There can be basic issues, like making sure the website's company logo links back to the company home page. Other good usability tips including making sure that most of the website's content is only three clicks away from the site's home page.

Website usability testing software

Website usability software includes Morae user testing and market testing software from TechSmith. Silverback is a usability testing software product for both website designers and software developers. It allows to record user testing sessions then play them back to assess where website usability issues might arise.

Usability First conduct extensive usability testing labs. Finally Jakob Nielson is probably the web's best known usability expert, and his useit.com website has plenty of informative tips about website usability issues.

Related content: website, usability, testing


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