Usability testing on websites (and mobile apps) is not always carried out adequately (or at all) by agencies and companies alike. The reasons for this include expense, time and lack of tools. Well usability testing need not be expensive because you can use a small number of test subjects, you only really need 90min tests and there are of course a large collection of tools available for this task. What has this got to do with SEO? Well quite a lot really, remember how I talked about the new Visibility strategist? Well as such it’s your responsibility to make sure that when visitors get to the site that they are greeted appropriately and helped adequately. Usability is about that and more.
Why is it important?
If your visitors find your site but then can’t navigate it, use any of the functionality on it or find what they’re looking for, then they will leave empty handed and disappointed in you and your site. Need I say more?
Some important quotes to ponder:
“It’s quite normal for e-commerce sites to increase sales by 100% or more as a result of usability. More important, they can probably avoid 9 of 10 returns by eliminating most mis-designed items (a 1000% improvement of the error rate metric)”.
- Jakob Nielsen
“A report by Creative Good showed that 39 per cent of test shoppers failed in their buying attempts because sites were too difficult to navigate. Additionally, 56 per cent of search attempts failed”.
- Creative Good
“Fortune 1000 companies each spend an average of $2 million per year on site redesigns, without knowing if the redesign made the site easier to use”.
- Forrester Research
“The dumbest mistake is viewing design as something you do at the end of the process to ‘tidy up’ the mess, as opposed to understanding it’s a ‘day one’ issue and part of everything.”
- Tom Peters
“A bad web site is like a grumpy salesperson.”
- Jakob Nielsen
“By conducting exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, we found that e-service quality is measured on six dimensions: information quality, website usability, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and personalization”.
As an exploratory effort, we adopted and extended Kaplan’s landscape preference model by including factors of legibility, coherence,
variety, and mystery, and examined their effect on cognitive and affective appraisals and their impact on purchase intention…Our ﬁndings demonstrated that the proposed model explained a large amount of the variance of purchase intention, invariant across different subgroups.
“During September and October 2008, the Usability Lab tested 12 novice participants in a “one-click” usability study of two different versions of a low-fidelity prototype of the Business andIndustry main page. The page was developed by the current Economic Web Site RedesignTeam. The page did not have any clickable links, though it did include text that appeared to belinks. Participants were given a set of tasks and were asked to click on a link that they felt would best lead them to information that would answer the task question. The link did not takethe participant to another page— once the participant had clicked, the task was complete. Thestudy evaluated the success and satisfaction of the participants and whether the link theparticipants chose would have led them to the answer they were seeking”.
“This study evaluatedthe usability of three of the most popular social networking sites (MySpace,Facebook, and Orkut). Results revealed issues related to confusing terminology,inadequate feedback and error messages, and improper link location impacted user performance and satisfaction”.
“Fifty-seven design variables and ten underlying clusters that conceptualize the structure of user webpage judgement are identified through content analysis on literature and structured interviews, balanced incomplete block user survey administration, and cluster analysis.”
“From Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, the development of Internet technology makes the existing value of websites has revolutionary change. How to provide suitable service platform for human-machine interaction through websites is the subject of debate that many technology developers and users concern about nowadays. This study uses Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) as the foundation, from the perspective of tourism companies and Internet users to analyze the relevant
factors of website usability”.
“This study aims to understand how website interactivity (active control and reciprocal communication) can impact purchase intention through website involvement and how the impacts are moderated by the type of products featured on websites”.
“System usability can be measured through various methods. One of the more important and widely employed techniques is ‘usability testing’, where asks, number of users, evaluators, and other factors are the main elements. This paper reviews usability testing together with current issues that can influence usability testing results, both negatively and positively. It also reviews web usability testing. In addition, in this paper, usability testing in the future is considered in order that improvements may be made.”
“The link structure of website allows us to spread the link power of home page to the individual pages of the site. In this paper we define the content and web pages as two important and prominent factors in website navigation and restate the enhancement in the website navigation as making some useful changes in the link structure of the website based on the aforementioned factors. Then we suggest a new method for proposing the changes using fuzzy approach to optimize the website architecture.”
“As web sites evolve over time, their complexity in both the content and the link structure also tend to increase,hence, causing disorientation and cognitive overload on the user side. User traversals tend to become more cumbersome,and information get hidden deep inside long chains of web pages and links. As a result, we need more creative design features to allow automatic and dynamic improvement of web site link structure. This paper describes a set of heuristics to optimize the web site usability and link structure.”
The area of web usability has long intrigued researchers. It has been widely accepted that for a website to be successful, the level of usability has to be high. The reason is because of poorly designed website. While many web designers largely fall on their prior experience to tell if a web site design is good or bad, there is a need to be able to provide clear methodology to do so[2,3]. An article by Goldsborough which quoted Nielson, reported that while many web designers think their websites are important, generally it is users who will determine the elevance of these websites. In this paper, we discuss the methodology of usability and the survey conducted for the webpage that we have done.