You want your business to connect with people the people you provide information or support to, work with, or sell products to. Understanding how these specific people – your users – are interacting with your business online will help you to connect with them better. You know you can achieve this through usability testing. So what next?
Whitney Quesenbery describes usability with the 5E’s: effective, efficient, engaging, error tolerant and easy to learn. Framing your testing in this context allows you to uncover five questions your usability testing should answer.
1. Did your users achieve their goals?
This will tell you how effective your website is, for example. Set your users a task and see if they manage to find the information or product they’re looking for.
2. How quickly did your users achieve their goals?
Efficiency tells you how quickly the user was able to achieve their goals. This will tell you if your screen layout or navigation is easy to use.
3. Did your users find the product satisfying to use?
Engaging with your users, grabbing their attention and making their interaction interesting while allowing them to complete the task at hand is tricky to balance but will earn you repeat visitors.
4. Did they experience any errors? If so, did the product help them recover easily?
Errors will always occur. How you help the user and the system recover from these errors could change the experience of using your product from negative to positive.
5. Did you find the product supportive to your users’ needs?
Coping with a broad range of users is essential for the longevity of any system. Your website should allow newcomers to instantly jump in and start performing tasks while enabling old hands to get right to the functionality they require.
Answering these questions will support you when designing a product or website that is engaging and delivers on your business objectives. All too often digital designers focus on the look of a project without providing a lasting positive user experience. Usability should be at the centre of any digital design philosophy worth it’s salt. Gaining the above insights into how your users are actually using your products is not a bad place to start.